Year in Review: Top 10 NHLers on Twitter in 2014

Joffrey Lupul and Jonathan Quick (Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

For this year’s top 10 NHL players on Twitter, we’re not limiting the field to the guys who are funniest, and/or who have a minimum of 100,000 followers. If you were an NHLer whose account was different and you used it well – even if you used it sparingly – you were in the mix. Here, in reverse order, are the results:

10. P.K. Subban, Montreal. The charismatic Canadiens star’s Tweets range anywhere from humorous to flirtatious (ask Canadian tennis sensation Eugenie Bouchard) to revealing him as a fan of other sports. If Twitter is there to give the public a window into interesting lives, Subban pulls back his drapes and lets everyone see what motivates, moves and interests him.

9. Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles. The Kings superstar isn’t a frequent Tweeter, but he’s come up with some stand-alone gems, including ones that can’t be reprinted in a family publication. Here’s a tamer Tweet that gives you an indication of Quick’s willingness to speak his mind:

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John Scott sure to be suspended for violent knockout of Tim Jackman

Jared Clinton
John Scott (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

San Jose Sharks winger John Scott is going to be opening a shiny new suspension for the holidays.

During Monday night’s game against the Anaheim Ducks, after Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen had frozen the puck, Scott came together with Anaheim winger Tim Jackman. Scott then wheeled around with his fist and caught Jackman right on the chin with a punch that knocked the 33-year-old Duck out cold. Read more

Bryzgalov gets dangerous with awesome Darkwing Duck mask

Jared Clinton
Bryz Darkwing Mask

If there weren’t enough reasons to like Ilya Bryzgalov, the Anaheim Ducks netminder added another. Dave Gunnarson of DaveArt shared Bryzgalov’s new lid today, and it’s chock full of ‘90s cartoon nostalgia.

The mask features classic cartoon superhero Darkwing Duck riding his RatCatcher motorcycle, and while one side captures the hero side of the childhood favorite, the other shows the much funnier, much clumsier side of the Masked Mallard. Read more

Top five teams who like to trade in first-round picks

Patrik Berglund, T.J. Oshie and Vladimir Tarasenko

With the holiday trade freeze upon us and the sprint to the trade deadline around the corner, some teams may be thinking about dealing a first-round pick to improve their chances in the new year.

First-round picks are precious currency of the salary-capped NHL. They often produce cheap, controllable young talent to complement high-priced veterans, and they’re also the most consistently valuable trading chip every team has available.

Since the 2004-05 lockout, many teams have built their rosters by wheeling and dealing in first-round picks. Sometimes a first-rounder helps seal the deal on a big-time player trade. Other times it’s compensation for a team selling off its vets at the trade deadline. And when the draft arrives in June, certain general managers love moving up or down in the first round with the help of an additional pick to sweeten the change in order.
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Ilya Bryzgalov’s Ducks debut no walk in the park

Josh Elliott
Anaheim Ducks Ilya Bryzgalov

Ilya Bryzgalov made his first start for the Anaheim Ducks in 2,599 days on Friday.

He probably won’t be keeping the game puck.

‘Cool Bryz’ struggled in his first start with the Ducks this season, surrendering six goals on 31 shots to a less-than-dynamite Ottawa Senators squad in a 6-2 loss. It was Bryzgalov’s second appearance with Anaheim this season after relieving Frederik Andersen in a 6-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier in the week.

And it was the second game in a row he’d rather forget.
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Clayton Stoner avoids discipline for Pacioretty hit. Here’s why the NHL got it wrong

Matt Larkin
Pacioretty hurt

Swing and a miss, NHL player safety department.

It was a particularly scary night for Max Pacioretty and the Montreal Canadiens. Pacioretty was already sensitive to dangerous hits, having sustained a career-threatening fractured vertebra in 2011 when Boston’s Zdeno Chara drove him into a stanchion. Chances are, ‘Patches’ experienced some traumatic flashbacks after last night’s collision with Anaheim blueliner Clayton Stoner.

After Pacioretty “admired a pass,” as the homer-as-it-gets Anaheim broadcasters put it, Stoner sent him hurtling into the boards with a late hit. Pacioretty struggled to get back to his feet, was in obvious pain and was taken to hospital for precautionary reasons. Here’s a look at the play:

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How Minnesota ruined Montreal’s 2001 draft

Ryan Kennedy
Minnesota's Mikko Koivu (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

The exciting and sometimes infuriating reality of the draft is how different teams view the same players. It’s common to hear a GM say “we didn’t expect him to be available when we picked,” and sometimes it’s true, but sometimes it’s just bluster. The other side of the coin is that some players are highly coveted by multiple teams, but only one can ultimately select him. One great example came in 2001, when Minnesota was picking right before Montreal.

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Canadiens honor former captain Saku Koivu in teary pre-game ceremony

Adam Proteau
Saku Koivu (Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

Knowing the love between the city of Montreal and veteran center Saku Koivu, you felt confident Thursday’s pre-game ceremony honoring the recently retired veteran center and former Canadiens captain was going to be a teary-eyed affair. And it was – so teary, in fact, even Koivu got choked up as he thanked adoring fans in a tremendous speech before the two NHL teams he played for (the Habs and Anaheim Ducks) faced off.

As the Bell Centre crowd chanted his name, and with his family looking on from ice level, the 40-year-old began his speech in French, showing the deft touch he displayed during his nine years in Montreal. The Turku, Finland native spoke without staring down at his notes, hitting a high point when he told the crowd “I will always be a Hab at my heart”. But when he began to discuss his bout with cancer in 2001, Koivu understandably became emotional: Read more