New AHL overtime rules letting hockey, not shootouts, decide games

Stu Hackel
Hershey Bears Hockey

Shootouts: Some hate them, others love them. But in recent seasons — with well over half the games that go beyond regulation also going to the skills competition — GMs started lamenting that too few contests were decided by actually playing hockey.

It’s been four years since Red Wings GM Ken Holland first proposed a longer overtime, one that would add a short 3-on-3 session if no one scored in the 4-on-4 OT. But he’s never been able to muster enough support among his fellow GMs for that change. Read more

Consistency needed, but the Blackhawks are bound for better days

Jared Clinton
Boston Bruins v Chicago Blackhawks

The last time the Chicago Blackhawks were shutout in consecutive home games was in October 2006. Trent Yawney was the coach, Brian Boucher was the starting goaltender, and the scoreless drought spanned over three games before being snapped by Jassen Cullimore. I guess you could say it’s been a while.

With Chicago going goalless in back-to-back home games, the rumbles have begun. Is this the end of the rope for coach Joel Quenneville? Has the team’s scoring dried up? What’s wrong with the Blackhawks? Read more

Watch AHL goaltender come up with inventive way to break up 2-on-0

Jared Clinton
LeggioNet

There’s a lot of ways to break up a 2-on-1, like sliding to block a pass or an aggressive poke check. When it comes to a 2-on-0, it gets a little bit more difficult, but veteran American League netminder David Leggio has a few ideas.

Leggio, who is playing his first season with Islanders affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers, had to think quickly as Springfield Falcons forwards Dana Tyrell and Lukas Sedlak came barreling down on him on a shorthanded 2-on-0: Read more

Rochester bookie pleads guilty: What does it mean for Thomas Vanek?

Ryan Kennedy
Thomas Vanek (Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

It began in late July, when Minnesota Wild left winger Thomas Vanek made a surprising appearance at a federal government building in Rochester, N.Y., where the Austrian national had once played for the American League’s Americans. Vanek was co-operating with investigators in a gambling probe and no charges were laid against the hockey player.

But with one of the men charged in the case pleading guilty to money laundering on Thursday, Vanek’s name is back in the news.

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Columbus Blue Jackets injuries: Laugh so you’re not crying

Ryan Kennedy
Mark Letestu (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Nathan Horton, Boone Jenner, Brandon Dubinsky and Sergei Bobrovsky. That’s a lot of core to have on the shelf but the Columbus – oh wait, add Mark Letestu to the IR – Blue Jackets are doing what they – also, James Wisniewski, are you kidding me? – uh, can.

Spirits were high in Columbus this summer after the franchise’s second-ever playoff berth ended with its first-ever post-season victories, even if the Jackets fell to Pittsburgh in the first round. But it seems the only spirits present now in Ohio are phantoms of the operating table, as the Jackets have been killed by injuries throughout the lineup. Along with the players mentioned above, players such as Ryan Murray, Matt Calvert, Nick Foligno and Cam Atkinson have also missed time.

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Boston Bruins lose Torey Krug, dig deep into their prospect pool for reinforcements

Ryan Kennedy
Torey Krug (Photo by Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

On the eve of the new season, I was talking to Boston coach Claude Julien about the importance of Zdeno Chara to his younger defensemen. The behemoth captain naturally gave a boost of confidence to his mates when he was out there and one of the beneficiaries was Torey Krug. The young offensive defenseman had a pretty sweet rookie campaign for the Bruins and Julien expected Krug to have a big opportunity to continue that success this season. Then Chara went down with a knee injury.

Now, Krug has been sidelined with a broken finger that will keep him out of the lineup for two to three weeks. With Kevan Miller also on the shelf and Johnny Boychuk traded to the Islanders, the Bruins defense corps is in dire need of reinforcements. Do they have the right personnel?

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AHL suspends Brad Mills 20 games for failing performance-enhancing drug test

Adam Proteau
Brad Mills (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

The American Hockey League announced Tuesday a 20-game suspension for Binghamton Senators Brad Mills after he tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

The 31-year-old Mills, who had one goal and two points in 34 games of NHL experience with the New Jersey Devils and Chicago Blackhawks, was in his first year in Binghamton after an eight-year AHL career that included stops in Lowell, Albany and Rockford; he has already sat out four games after the Senators removed him from the lineup last week once the test result came in, and he’s eligible to return to the lineup Dec. 12. Read more

AHL keeper misplays shot from center for outrageous goal

Jared Clinton
Binghamton Senators' goaltender Andrew Hammond misplays a bouncing puck from center that resulted in a St. John's IceCaps goal. (via YouTube)

One of the wonderful things about hockey is that the names of players can enter the lexicon of the hockey fan to signify things that are much more than just the players themselves.

Take, for instance, the Forsberg. The term evokes the image of his one-handed goal that led the Swedish men’s team to a gold medal in 1994’s Olympic games. And how about Gordie Howe Hat Trick? The ferocity of Howe’s play and his absurd amount of talent was enough for the term to be coined and the recognition given to any player who registers a goal, assist, and fight in a game.

For Maple Leafs fans, there are some terms that hit a bit closer to home. One of which, for all the wrong reasons, is The Toskala. Infamously, former Leafs goaltender Vesa Toskala once allowed a goal to Rob Davison. The catch? The “snipe” came from 197 feet away from Toskala’s goal.

It took a few funny hops and it’s happened to the best of keepers, but a goal of this ilk has become synonymous with Toskala in hockey circles. Vancouverites may argue otherwise, claiming it to be the mark of Dan Cloutier.

In any event, Andrew Hammond, an undrafted goaltender who is currently under contract with Ottawa, is going to be hoping that Binghamton Senators fans have shorter memories than most.

During the first period of Binghamton’s 6-5 loss to the St. John’s IceCaps, the 26-year-old keeper allowed a goal he’d surely like to have back:

The looping puck from center ice was Jets’ prospect Carl Klingberg’s first of the season, coming just over a minute into the contest. All told, Hammond would allow six goals in what was surely an off night for the goaltender.

Here’s hoping the young netminder can laugh it off.