46 ways to make hockey way, way better. Maybe

If the NHL doesn't want to send its players to the Olympics, how about holding the World Junior Championship there? (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

In 13 years as Editor-in-Chief of The Hockey News, I’ve made a ton of suggestions on how to improve the game. You’d almost think I didn’t like it.

The truth is, I feel it’s part of my job to help stimulate conversation and debate. While hockey is still pretty darned fantastic, nothing is perfect.

What follows is a list of various things I’ve suggested, conceived, advocated or supported during my baker’s dozen years in my ivory tower.
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Is this year’s stacked Hall of Fame class the best ever?

Brian Costello
Nicklas Lidstrom (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

These are the salad days for the Hockey Hall of Fame. Its list of inductees the past four years is a who’s who of NHL superstars from the turn of the century. The 15 players inducted between 2012 and 2015 represent a four-year run of inductees the Hall has never seen before.

In fact, I rated the top 10 induction classes from 1966 to this year and found each of the past four years to be worthy enough to be on that list. I picked strictly the post-expansion era because that’s when the HHOF reduced the number of inductees each year from unlimited down to three, then later four in the players category.

While this weekend’s Hall of Fame celebrations – and Monday’s induction ceremonies – are an opportunity for hockey fans to reflect and appreciate the exploits of these greats, there’s also a wedge of bitterness to go with all those sweet memories. After all, this crowning achievement in their careers also serves as a reminder we’re no longer blessed with watching them play.

This year’s class of Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Chris Pronger and Phil Housley rates as the third best class of all-time, by my assessment. But this is one of these subjective evaluations when I don’t mind being overruled by the savvy eye of the everyday hockey fan – yourself. Let us know what you think.

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McDavid injury opens Calder race up to late-bloomers

Colton Parayko (Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images)

As Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli said in his news conference to update the Connor McDavid injury, when you’re talking about plates and screws, the news isn’t really good. And when you talk about months, and stress the plural as Peter Chiarelli did, well you can understand why Chiarelli looked so grim.

But let’s say McDavid is a quick healer and misses eight weeks with his broken clavicle, the same way Patrick Kane did last season. That would put him back in Edmonton Oilers lineup in the New Year. It would mean he’d miss 26 games and essentially destroy his chances of winning the Calder Trophy.

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Best and worst headlines of 2015-16 for each NHL team

Ken Campbell
Jack Eichel (Photo by Ken Andersen/NHLPA via Getty Images)

With another season just hours away, the excitement is palpable. Jaromir Jagr is growing his mullet and Erik Karlsson is cutting his. We’re on the verge of 3-on-3 play in overtime and, admit it, you’re probably on the edge of your set at this very moment, wondering who will issue the first coach’s challenge.

With a new season come all kinds of possibilities, both good and bad. And we have you covered for both. To that end, we present the absolute best and worst headlines you might read for each team this season:

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THN’s 2015-16 NHL season preview: Stanley Cup, standings, and award predictions

The Hockey News
Alex Ovechkin (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Hockey is back. The 2015-16 season kicks off Wednesday night with four games, including an Original Six matchup between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs. Also, the Chicago Blackhawks will raise another Stanley Cup banner when they host the New York Rangers.

With the new season about to begin, it’s time for some predictions. You probably won’t be surprised to hear The Hockey News staff thinks the Maple Leafs and Coyotes are last-place teams. Or that Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby will battle it out for the top individual awards. But you may be surprised by some of the other predictions, including our Stanley Cup final pick. Scroll down for all our picks, and individual team previews.

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Happy 50th Super Mario and St. Patrick – which one would you take?

Mario Lemieux and Patrick Roy  (Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)

Separated by only a couple of hours and about 150 miles, two of the greatest players of their generation were born on this day in 1965. So, Happy 50th Birthday to Mario Lemieux and Patrick Roy.

Google tells me that Andy Griffith and Marilyn Monroe were born on precisely the same day. So were Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln. But the best parallel we can make for two people of bound by precisely the same birthday and excellence in the same craft are B.B. King and Charlie Byrd, who were a couple of pretty decent guitar players.

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Ekman-Larsson shooting to become best in Sweden and NHL

Ken Campbell
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Before Oliver Ekman-Larsson can even think about being the best defenseman in the NHL, he has to be the best defenseman in his own country. Heck, he’s not even the best defenseman in his own blueline pairing for Sweden. But Larsson is shooting for the title, both literally and figuratively.

When Sweden chooses its World Cup team, it will have some vexing decisions to make on its defense corps, but one of them will not be whether or not to include Ekman-Larsson. And there’s probably a good chance that whoever coaches the team will not duplicate the actions of Par Marts, who sat Ekman-Larsson out for the entire semifinal of the Olympics in Sochi and for the first two periods of the gold medal game. After starting the tournament as Erik Karlsson’s defense partner, Ekman-Larsson played fewer than 24 minutes total in Sweden’s final four games in Sochi. Ekman-Larsson started the tournament strongly with Karlsson, but was a fixture on the bench when Alexander Edler returned from his two-game suspension to start the tournament.

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Flyers owner Snider recieves lifetime achievement award at Global Sports Summit

Jared Clinton
Ed Snider receives the lifetime achievement award from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman at the Global Sports Summit. (Evanta Ventures, LLC)

Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider was honored with a lifetime achievement award at the Global Sports Summit in Aspen, Colo., Monday evening.

Snider was presented the prize by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and received the award as an owner who, “has made a lasting contribution to their team, league, and community through their leadership and commitment over an extended period of ownership.” And an extended period it has been.

Snider, 82, has been the owner of the Flyers since they came into the league as an expansion team in 1967, and is the longest tenured owner in the NHL.

As the Flyers’ owner, Snider worked to construct the Philadelphia Spectrum, which played host to Philadelphia’s two Stanley Cup championship teams. In 1971, he became the owner of the Spectrum and, three years later, Snider created Spectacor, which would make way for the creation of Comcast SportsNet.

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