Top 10 goals of 2014: Latest highlight from Ovie one of the year’s best

Alex Ovechkin (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

It seems like each year there’s yet another goal that seems impossible. This year, there were 10.

From between the legs moves to spinning, no-look goals, there have been more than a few tallies this season that had no business going in. While there was an entire 12 months worth of goals to consider, it wasn’t until December when we found our definite list-topper.

Check out the complete top 10 below: Read more

Even teammates need to keep their heads up around Sabres prospect J.T. Compher

J.T. Compher (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

He is both a secret weapon and the most obvious one at Team USA’s disposal this year. University of Michigan sophomore J.T. Compher could very well have been a difference-maker for the Americans last year in Malmo, but the gritty and talented center broke his foot while blocking a shot during practice with the national squad a week before the world junior tournament.

This summer, Compher hurt his hand during Team USA’s summer camp in Lake Placid. Once again, he was blocking a shot, this time in an exhibition rout of the Swedes. But – knock on wood – Compher is healthy now and will be a boon to the Americans when the holiday classic hits Canada. Read more

Stephen Weiss can’t remember the hit that he says didn’t concuss him

Jared Clinton
Stephen Weiss (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Even if Stephen Weiss saw the hit from Nikita Zadorov coming, he couldn’t tell you. That’s because the hit, which Weiss told media didn’t concuss him, is one he can’t remember.

After taking a solid jolt from Buffalo Sabres defenseman Zadorov late in the third period, Detroit’s Weiss was clearly in some distress lying on the ice. He was helped from to the bench, was taken to the dressing room, and did not return to the game. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Bruins actively searching for scoring

Lyle Richardson
Chara Bruins Fear Featured

Prior to the NHL Christmas trade freeze, Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli was actively shopping around in search of scoring punch for his struggling offense. The once-dominant Bruins enter this week struggling to hang onto one of the last playoff berths in the Eastern Conference. It’s a good bet Chiarelli will remain active once the freeze ends at midnight on Dec. 27.

For weeks Chiarelli was reportedly interested in Buffalo Sabres right wing Chris Stewart. With only seven points in 33 games, the 27-year-old Stewart isn’t an immediate remedy for the Bruins’ offensive woes.

Chiarelli was believed to be in talks with St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong, sparking speculation he was pursuing Patrik Berglund or T.J. Oshie. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports the Blues have limited cap space next season and pending free agents Vladimir Tarasenko and Jake Allen will seek substantial raises. So will forwards Jaden Schwartz and Jori Lehtera when their contracts expire in 2016. Shedding Berglund’s $3.7-million cap hit or Oshie’s $4.175 million could address this problem. Read more

Suspend him or not: Massive hit leaves Gionta stunned, gets Bartkowski kicked out

Jared Clinton
Bartkowski Bruins featured

Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski may be getting a call from the Department of Player Safety after a massive open ice check left Buffalo Sabres captain Brian Gionta stunned.

The hit occurred in the final six minutes of the first period of the Bruins tilt with the Sabres on Sunday night, and the impact was enough to send Gionta literally spiraling through the air: Read more

The NHL shootout: the part of the game practice and coaching can’t solve

Leafs goalie James Reimer and Sabres center Cody Hodgson (Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Flyers’ 2-1 shootout loss to Florida Thursday marked their fifth loss in as many shootouts this season. With even one or two wins in those five games, Philly would be within sniffing distance of a wild card berth and not, as they currently are, closer in the standings to the last-place Carolina Hurricanes. And when veteran center Vincent Lecavalier was asked after the game whether the Flyers practiced the shootout enough, his answer likely didn’t make beleaguered head coach Craig Berube very happy.

“Well, obviously not,” said Lecavalier, who was one of the Flyers’ shooters. “I mean, maybe we could do more. They’re obviously very important points that you’re kind of leaving on the table. We have been practicing, but we probably could do more.”

Berube maintained the Flyers do practice enough, but the truth is, since it was first implemented in 2005, the shootout has been a Bermuda Triangle of expectations and logic. And the more you think about the so-called solution for a team’s shootout woes, the sillier it is. I mean, players have to practice scoring more? These men are almost universally dominant scorers at lower levels of the game and who think of different ways to score constantly, so what exactly would another 20 minutes or a half-hour after practice do for them, when it’s all but impossible to replicate the game conditions (including thousands of screaming fans potentially attempting to intimidate them) of an actual shootout? Read more

Rumor Roundup: Kings must free up space for Williams, Jets search for blueline help

Justin Williams’s Pierre LeBrun reports the Los Angeles Kings last week opened contract talks with right wing Justin Williams, winner of the 2014 Conn Smythe Trophy during the Kings’ march to the Stanley Cup last spring.

LeBrun reports the Kings really want to retain the 33-year-old Williams, who loves playing and living in Los Angeles. Williams’ agent, however, has informed management his client prefers not to negotiate during the season. If a deal isn’t reached soon, talks could be shelved until season’s end. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Trading Hall would do little to help Oilers long-term improvement

Taylor Hall (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Edmonton Oilers firing of head coach Dallas Eakins prompted speculation over potential roster changes. It’s believed Oilers management will consider all options going forward, including the possibility of trading star left wing Taylor Hall.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports of a “sagging work ethic” and lack of a winning culture among the Oilers’ players, suggesting Hall hasn’t been what the front office expected “from a culture standpoint.” Dreger believes the 23-year-old Hall will be in play in the trade market and believes the best return could be had during the summer, perhaps at the NHL Draft in June.

Oilers GM Craig MacTavish spent several weeks seeking help for his floundering roster via the trade market. During a press conference on Dec. 5, MacTavish stated he wouldn’t make any knee-jerk moves and wasn’t prepared to move his core players. Read more