It’s amazing how things will change by Saturday night. Connor McDavid will know which NHL team he will belong to. The McDavid parents will know in which city their son’s adult life will begin to unfold and flourish. Vendors will go crazy preparing McDavid jerseys, signs and apparel.
(And make no mistake, McDavid will be the first overall selection in the June 26-27 NHL draft in Sunrise, Florida. There will be zero drama with that pick.)
The NHL’s draft lottery will be televised Saturday night at 8 pm. The proceedings will begin about 7:30, but the drawing of lottery balls will take place about a half hour later. McDavid’s most likely destination is a city other than Buffalo, but Buffalo has the best odds of all the 14 non-playoff teams. Here’s how it works.
Recently, 13-year-old aspiring journalist Haley Smilow had the chance to sit down with Arizona’s Shane Doan for a Q&A. Their conversation revealed some interesting facts about the Coyotes captain, who is one of the game’s genuinely good guys.
HALEY: What’s the best part about being a hockey player and what’s the worst part about being a hockey player?
SHANE: The best part about being a hockey player is definitely the competitiveness. They’re competing and having fun and, you know, you get challenged every day to do something that you love to do. As a kid, I mean playing a sport doesn’t get much better than that. So that’s obviously the best part. And the hardest part is being away from my family. I have a wife and four kids and it really kind of takes control of your life for six or seven months of the year and forces them to kind of get pushed back a little bit. I don’t enjoy that part of it.
HALEY: Who are the greatest influences on your hockey career?
SHANE: The greatest influence on my career would probably be my dad. He played, I admired the way he was and the way he played the game. And then guys that I played with, that I watched growing up. I loved Paul Coffey. I thought he was amazing. He was a phenomenal hockey player. And the guys that I’ve played with since, probably Teppo Numminen, Keith Tkachuk and Kris King are the 3 captains that I had, I admired them, along with Mike Gartner.
HALEY: Who would you not want to fight? Read more
The start of the NHL playoffs means it’s time for subterfuge and/or the vaguest of terms to describe players’ injuries – and the playing status of any roster member, for that matter – so take anything you see below with a salt grain or two. But a number of NHLers were rumored Tuesday to be questionable for the start of their team’s first-round series – and not just because of injury. Read more
Sunday’s NHL action featured five games, all of which had implications on the playoff race. But of those five, three had a little extra depth to them. The Blackhawks/Blues, Senators/Leafs and Flyers/Penguins games weren’t necessarily more exciting than the Capitals’ win over Detroit or Montreal’s 4-1 victory against Florida, but the regional rivalries always have a discernible zest to them that sets them apart – and that comprises the financial backbone of the league’s most profitable teams.
The Leafs’ season has been abysmal and both their players and fans have looked like they’d checked out of things weeks ago, but Toronto’s players and fans got an emotional jolt in a 2-1 shootout win that dealt Ottawa’s playoff hopes a serious blow. The Flyers did more or less the same thing to the Penguins, only Philadelphia needed just three periods to squash the Pens 4-1 and jeopardize Pittsburgh’s post-season hopes. And the Blues and Hawks have the best kind of rivalry – one in which both teams are headed to the playoffs this year and are jousting for top spot in their division.
Sorry, Detroit vs. Washington and Montreal vs. Florida, but you’re going to have an uphill battle trying to replicate the emotion seen in those type of games. Read more
The NHL’s 82-game season can be hard on players. No matter how tough a guy is, getting hammered into the boards on a nightly basis by 190-pound opponents takes its toll in the form of injuries and fatigue. And with the game faster and the players stronger than they’ve ever been, the number of hits a player sustains can really add up.
They certainly seem to have added up for the Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks, all recent Stanley Cup champions who have been hampered by injuries or fatigue this year, and who have been hit more often than any other potential playoff team in the league.
News Wednesday that actor and famous hockey/Boston Bruins fan Denis Leary was producing for IFC a new series centered around an amateur hockey team should inspire puck fans to pitch more hockey-themed shows to TV networks in the hope they might get picked up and put on air. Here, I’ll show you what I mean, using titles of TV series as examples:
The Walking Dead An outbreak of a mysterious virus ravages the Sabres, Coyotes and Maple Leafs and leads to locals staggering aimlessly and dead-eyed in the streets in Buffalo, Arizona and Toronto. While death sometimes seems to be a merciful option for our heroes during such a bleak time, they bravely continue to search and hope for a place to settle and grow. Read more
When Jaromir Jagr was traded from the New Jersey Devils to the Florida Panthers, the biggest question wasn’t who he would line up alongside or if he had any intention of re-signing in Florida. Rather, people wondered how long it would take for a new Travelling Jagr to pop up.
For those unfamiliar with the Travelling Jagrs, they’re a group of huge Jagr fans that have shown up on a number of occasions dressed as their hero through the years. From a mulleted version of youthful Jagr as a member of the Penguins to a lookalike of Jagr during his short stint in Dallas, there’s a Travelling Jagr for each of his stops. There isn’t, however, one for Florida – at least not yet. Read more
With this NHL off-season having the weakest class of unrestricted free agents in recent memory, the biggest names that change teams more than likely are going to be behind the bench. Some of the potential coaching free agents will depend on the regular-season and playoff games to come this spring and summer, but there’s no doubt new salary benchmarks will be set for a profession that hasn’t been flush with money (at least, as compared to NHL coaches’ counterparts in other sports). Here are the top five potential free agent coaches in the 2015 off-season:
5. Dan Bylsma. The former Penguins coach and Stanley Cup-winner has been waiting quietly on the sidelines for the opportune moment to restart his NHL coaching career, and although he has another year remaining on his contract with Pittsburgh, few think he’ll stay there for much longer. He’s not an authoritarian figure in the dressing room and showed during his time with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin he understands how to handle the league’s top young talent. Bylsma’s pedigree and young age – he’s still only 44 years old – will have him on the list of interviewees for a number of job openings. Read more