Prospect Hot List: Christian Fischer’s connection to the Tkachuks

Team USA's Christian Fischer (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

Well, I’m writing this week’s Hot List in Toronto because the Beanpot tournament in Boston was postponed due to weather. Not fun, but at least I can try again in two weeks. In the meantime, the Five Nations tournament just wrapped up in the Czech Republic, with Russia winning and Team USA boasting the highest scorers in Matthew Tkachuk (Keith’s kid) and Jack Roslovic. Below you’ll find some of the best performers from that shindig plus other prospects from around the hockey world.

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The 10 strangest injuries of the 2014-15 season

Sidney Crosby had a visibly swollen face when he met with media on Friday. (via PensTV)

On Sunday night, Philadelphia Flyers netminder Steve Mason went down with an injury during a TV timeout. It could very well have been the reaggravation of an earlier ailment, but it simply looks like the Philadelphia goaltender just had awful luck.

And strange injuries have been one of the big stories this season. Even when it’s not a strange injury, in some cities players are heading to the injured list at such a rate that it makes one wonder what’s in the water. So, in what has been an odd season for injuries, here are the 10 strangest: Read more

The 10 worst free agent signings of 2014-15

Dave Bolland's five-year, $27.5 million contract with the Florida Panthers is one of the worst UFA deals handed out. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The St. Louis Blues’ signing of Martin Brodeur didn’t turn out the way many fans would have hoped, with the legendary netminder playing some of the worst hockey of his career and then retiring once there was no longer a spot for him in the lineup.

But the signing was a calculated risk. Brodeur came cheap, was a capable backup and a teacher and mentor for young goaltender Jake Allen. Because Brodeur retired before Feb. 1, it saved the Blues from paying a roster bonus to the veteran netminder. Those are all reasons you won’t find Brodeur on this list of the worst signings of this season.

What you will find is a few players who are overpaid, contracts that are far too long, and a few gambles that simply didn’t pay off. Read more

AHL center Colin Smith scores jaw-dropping overtime winner

Jared Clinton
Colin Smith celebrates his overtime winner. (DansLAction/YouTube)

Heading into Friday night, Lake Erie Monsters center Colin Smith had just one goal in his past fifteen games. If every scoring drought leads to a goal like Friday’s overtime winner, Monsters fans certainly won’t mind.

Smith, who had nine goals and 26 points heading into the Monsters’ contest against the Marlies, danced around Toronto blueliner Viktor Loov by putting the puck through his own legs, cut to the inside and slid the puck past goaltender Antoine Bibeau. Read more

ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors to wear ’50 Shades of Grey’ jerseys

Jared Clinton
The Bakersfield Condors will wear 50 Shades of Grey themed jerseys on Feb. 15. (Bakersfield Condors)

It feels like it has been said a thousand times, but there really isn’t a team in hockey that has as much fun as the Bakersfield Condors.

On Sunday, Feb. 15, the team will don 50 Shades of Grey themed jerseys to coincide with the release of the film. The jerseys – which, yes, have 50 actual shades of grey – feature themes from the series, including a necktie, handcuffs, masquerade masks and the outlines of each book in the trilogy. Read more

Toronto Maple Leafs prospect William Nylander can learn from a Finnish foe

Ryan Kennedy
William Nylander dodges Greg Pateryn (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

When the Toronto Maple Leafs brought 2014 first-rounder William Nylander over from Sweden last month, they were giving the talented teen a chance to escape a bit of a gong show with his Modo team back home, while also learning the rigors of the North American game in the AHL.

Five games and two points into his career with the Toronto Marlies and Nylander is still adjusting.

“It’s getting better,” he said. “A little more time and it will be like normal.”

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Has any U.S. President in history loved hockey?

Stu Hackel
The 2013-14 Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings presented U.S. President Barack Obama with a commemorative silver stick at the White House on Feb. 2, 2015. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Obama welcomed the Kings to the White House this week, but — unlike, say, Prime Minister Stephen Harper — he’s really not a hockey guy. In fact, a new book by one of his former aides, Reggie Love, explains Obama’s passion for basketball, which isn’t entirely surprising considering the President was raised in Hawaii – hardly hockey territory. But it begs the question whether we’ve ever had a US president who has been a true hockey guy.

Probably not.

The U.S. president whose sports passions (among many passions) were most celebrated was John F. Kennedy and he apparently knew about hockey being a Bostonian. Touch football was the family game, but while in the White House in March 1963, JFK phoned David Hackett, a friend and presidential aide, complaining about the US National Team getting thrashed by Sweden 17-2 in the ’63 IIHF World Championships. Read more