Junior game gets NHL treatment with incredible flash mob

Jared Clinton
(via Fox Sports West/YouTube)

Much like the Battle of Alberta between the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames, the Freeway Faceoff between the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings has become a heated rivalry simply due to proximity. That trickles all the way down to the junior level, too.

Before a Jr. Ducks and Jr. Kings game, Fox Sports West decided to create the first ever Jr. Freeway Faceoff, bringing in fans, in-game entertainment, announcers, analysts, and cheerleaders, all in an attempt to bring the big league feel to the junior league game. The result was fantastic. Read more

Canada’s vets eye gold, but won’t forget the past

Nic Petan (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

On paper, Canada should have run roughshod over Slovakia, a team they waxed 8-0 in the round robin. But as the Canucks learned in last year’s semifinal, when they fell unceremoniously to Finland before losing the bronze to Russia, those cliches about taking things one game at a time are spoken for a reason.

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Canada’s ‘big’ unit is heating up at just the right time

Canada's Lawson Crouse (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Not that Canada needed it, but the host nation’s fourth line had a big night against Denmark with two goals in an 8-0 quarterfinal romp. Because Canada’s so deep, that fourth line is comprised of two top-25 NHL draft picks and the youngest player on the team – who is threatening to go top-10 this summer.

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Hockey Canada badly misjudged the hockey fans in Montreal

Auston Matthews  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

MONTREAL – A few random thoughts as your correspondent packs up and heads back to Toronto for the medal round of the World Junior Championship:

* The next time our friends at Hockey Canada and TSN remind us how important this tournament is to Canada’s hockey identity and cultural fabric – and that should happen in say, the next 30 seconds or so – it might be relevant to point out that only one in 10 Canadians actually watched Canada’s preliminary-round games on television and, in Montreal at least, that patriotism has definitive limit. Read more

Demotion from Ducks could spell end for Dany Heatley

Jared Clinton
Dany Heatley (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

In 2005-06, the top five goal scorers in the NHL were, in order, Jonathan Cheechoo, Jaromir Jagr, Ilya Kovalchuk, Alex Ovechkin, and Dany Heatley. If you had to pick a player that wouldn’t be able to cut it in the league eight years later, the two easiest answers don’t include a then 25-year-old Heatley.

As of noon Tuesday, however, Heatley’s days in the NHL look like they’re all but through. After a few consecutive seasons of dwindling numbers for far-too-much money, including zero points in six games with the Anaheim Ducks this season on a $1 million deal, Heatley is finds himself demoted for the first time in his career. Read more

When it finally comes to Andersen or Gibson, Ducks will make right choice

Jared Clinton

Over the past decade, there have been tough goaltending decisions in Anaheim, and though it may not be coming this season, the Ducks will have to make another big choice soon.

With John Gibson back from injury and continuing his incredible play in the AHL and starter Frederik Andersen setting an Anaheim record in December with 10 wins in a single month, the Ducks have two young goaltenders on their hands and will likely have to choose one over the other. There are worse problems to have, and the Ducks have a history of making the right choice. Read more

What can the NHL do to get more fans?


By Rudy Mezzetta

When the Predators partnered with the city of Nashville to build a new community rink – the twin-pad Ford Ice Center, which opened this fall – the goal wasn’t merely to extend the team’s brand. It was to convert new people to true hockey believers.

“Get a stick in someone’s hands and they’re a fan for life,” said Sean Henry, the Preds’ president and chief operating officer.

Growing the fan base, while ensuring existing fans stay happy, is crucial for the league. It’s a long-term commitment, said league executives, but it’s the lifeblood for the sport, and by extension, the business of the NHL. Read more