Watch visor spare Ducks prospect Nick Ritchie serious injury

Adam Proteau
Nick Ritchie (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Nick Ritchie is at the start of his burgeoning professional hockey career, but if it weren’t for his visor, he might be in a far worse predicament today.

As Yahoo’s Neate Sager first reported, Ritchie was playing in his first game back with the Ontario League’s Peterborough Petes Thursday when he was struck in the face by a slapshot from teammate Matt Spencer:


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Ryan Getzlaf was “pissed off” at Teemu Selanne’s comments in his book

Ryan Getzlaf. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

In September we learned of some controversial passages in Teemu Selanne’s new book, which was strange, given Selanne was a beloved, non-confrontational figure in his NHL career. He suggested that if Bruce Boudreau wasn’t the coach of the Anaheim Ducks he’d still be playing in the NHL and wouldn’t have retired.

It was certainly strange to see some of the things Selanne had to say and that he had such a heated relationship with his last NHL coach. But in the book, he even called out Ryan Getzlaf a little and thought the Ducks captain could have done more to support him.

Thursday on the Jim Rome Show, Getzlaf was asked what his reaction was to the comments – and he wasn’t thrilled. Read more

Remember the NHL 2K video game? It’s back – and so is cover boy Ryan Kesler

Matt Larkin
After a four-year hiatus, the NHL 2K video game series returns, and it brings back Ryan Kesler as the face of the product. (Getty Images)

The video game stars have aligned this fall. The EA Sports juggernaut has enjoyed a monopoly on the NHL license for several seasons, but it picked a questionable time to release a flawed game. NHL 15 possesses amazing feel and physics, but gamers have marched their virtual torches to EA’s door, angry about a serious lack of game modes.

Quite a time, then, for the NHL 2K series to return after a four-year hiatus. The game drops any day now on iOS and Android, meaning it’s playable on virtually all phones and tablets.

Also making a comeback: 2K cover athlete Ryan Kesler. By my account, he’s the first video game athlete to grace a cover again after a four-year hiatus. He laughs when I point that out, and he seems genuinely honored to be named the face of 2K again.

“It was pretty cool, obviously,” Kesler said. “I developed a relationship over the years with 2K, working with them even before I was on the cover of 2K11. That was a dream come true. When they came to me again and gave me this opportunity, it’s something you don’t turn down.”

And NHL 2K aims to deliver something a little different than the competition, targeting the more casual gamer, maybe the type who finds hardcore simulation games like EA Sports’ NHL and Madden series, SCE’s MLB: The Show and even NBA 2K too daunting. It offers a three-season My Career Mode and has live roster updates, but its bread and butter will be a fast-paced, 3-on-3 mini rink game. It projects to have more of an arcadey feel to it.

Here’s a shot of the regular gameplay:

 

Courtesy 2K Sports

Courtesy 2K Sports

 

Kesler, 30, is grew up in the video game generation, so he knows what he wants in a game. He laments how hard sports games are to control on tablets, but he says NHL 2K breaks that mold. He’s pumped about the mini rink games. Most of all, though, he loves the shootout mode.

“Definitely something that’s going to be a competition on the planes,” Kesler said. “We’re going to be playing each other in shootouts, and it’s going to get pretty heated on the planes during road trips.”

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Electrifying Jeremy Bracco leads off Ryan Kennedy’s Hot List

Team USA's Jeremy Bracco (Photo courtesy of Tom Sorensen/USHL)

Welcome back to another season of The Hot List, my weekly update of who is making noise in the world of prospects. Players are eligible for the list as long as they haven’t stepped on the ice for a regular season NHL game; otherwise, they come from all different leagues and development points. Some will be on hot streaks, others will be new names you’ll want to bank in your memory. All will be potential NHLers one day. Hockey’s back, so let’s take a look at this week’s roundup.

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THN’s 2014-15 NHL season preview: Anaheim Ducks

The Hockey News
The Anaheim Ducks celebrate a goal. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

2013-14 record: 54-20-8

Acquisitions: Dany Heatley, Jason LaBarbera, Clayton Stoner, Nate Thompson, Ryan Kesler, Louis Leblanc

Departures: Daniel Winnik, Zack Stortini, Jonas Hiller, Mathieu Perreault, Stephane Robidas, Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa, Teemu Selanne

Top five fantasy players: Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler, Andrew Cogliano, Cam Fowler

Boom, Bust and Bottom Line: The best, worst and most likely scenario
Boom: If GM Bob Murray had to do the trade deadline all over again, he’d have a more secure Plan B in place when his quest for Ryan Kesler fell through. As it unfolded, Murray didn’t give his top two lines any kind of offensive boost. Meanwhile, the rival Los Angeles Kings added Marian Gaborik, who almost singlehandedly sunk the Ducks, with six goals and 10 points in their seven-game second-round series. Read more

Wild’s goalie carousel continues with suspension of Josh Harding, signing of Darcy Kuemper

Adam Proteau
Josh Harding (Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

Since the Minnesota Wild first appeared on an NHL ice rink in 2000, they’ve been relatively free of out-of-the-ordinary drama. But their goaltending predicament is shaping up to be one of the league’s most intriguing sagas to monitor this season – and that was before Thursday, when the franchise suspended presumptive No. 1 Josh Harding after he got into an altercation with a teammate, kicked a wall and fractured his foot.

Harding is expected to be sidelined for months by the injury, and left the team with little choice but to come down hard on him. Details of the scuffle he engaged in (including the name of the teammate he clashed with) weren’t made public, but by suspending him, the Wild took his $1.9 million salary cap hit off the books and gave that money to restricted free agent Darcy Kuemper.

But even then, Minnesota’s goaltending saga is far from settled. Read more

Teemu Selanne: “I’d still be playing” if Bruce Boudreau wasn’t Ducks coach

Adam Proteau
Teemu Selanne (Getty Images)

Never ask Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau to play Crazy Eights.

That was the takeaway Thursday after Finnish journalist Juha Hiitelä began Tweeting excerpts from Teemu Selanne’s soon-to-be-released book.

Essentially – and despite calling Boudreau a “nice man” – Selanne threw his former coach in Anaheim under the bus, drove over him with it, backed up, and repeated the process seven or eight times. In the most shocking statement, Selanne said he’d have returned to the NHL for a 22nd season if Boudreau wasn’t still the Ducks’ coach.

But he said much more than that. Here’s the now-retired Selanne describing his experience in the 2014 playoffs, when Boudreau made him a healthy scratch prior to Anaheim’s first round, Game 4 showdown against Dallas: Read more

Anaheim Ducks will win the Stanley Cup…in our alternate predictions

duckshappy

The Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings are, in the opinion of the deep thinkers at The Hockey News, the class of the NHL. Chicago is our pick to win the Cup, while the defending champs have, by far, the best chance of preventing that from happening.

It’s a virtual two-horse race with the co-favorites, having remarkably similar pedigrees.

But what if…we’re wrong? Unlikely, we realize, but not impossible. If both clubs get eliminated from contention, which dark horse is best positioned to come from the outside and bask in the winner’s circle?

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