Take a look inside some of hockey’s finest fan caves

Jeff Libonati

Hockey fans are a special breed. So special, in fact, we dedicated an entire issue, appropriately dubbed the Fan Issue, entirely to the hockey fan. Be it cheering (or jeering) habits, your fantastic fan stories, or a little bit about the players you love the most, we wanted to give you the issue you’ve always wanted.

In return, we asked for one small thing: pictures of your fan cave – the place you go, decked out with all your favorite gear, to watch your team 82 times during the regular season as they work towards chasing hockey’s ultimate prize.

We received a number of submissions, but below you can find our favorites: Read more

Who’s for real – the Flames or the Predators?

Adam Proteau
Pekka Rinne and Shea Weber (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Calgary and Nashville have some things in common: they’re the epicenters of their country’s country music scene; they’ve had Terry Crisp, Olli Jokinen and a defenseman named Suter working for their respective NHL team; and those two organizations currently are shocking the hockey world by being tied for third place in the Western Conference.

The expectations for the Flames and Predators were considerably different coming into the 2014-15 campaign: the latter made a slew of veteran additions on the ice and behind the bench in the hope of getting back into the playoffs for the first time since 2011-12, while the former was in full-on rebuild mode. But with both off to such a strong start, the natural question is: which of the two will be ahead of the other in the standings by the end of the season?

My answer: the Predators. And here’s why.

For one thing, Norris Trophy-nominated defenseman Shea Weber. For another thing, Vezina Trophy-nominated goalie Pekka Rinne. Nothing personal against Mark Giordano or Jonas Hiller, both of whom are enjoying all-star-caliber seasons for the Flames, but neither Calgary player has elevated his game to be considered among the best of the very best. Until Giordano and Hiller demonstrate consistency at that level, it’s fair to give the benefit of the doubt to the team that has the two better players on its roster. Read more

Once a rugged power forward, Willi Plett still making living with his hands

Jared Clinton
Willi Plett (Steve Babineau/NHLI/Via Getty Images)

When Willi Plett retired from the NHL, he did it on his own terms. In his early 30s at the time, it wasn’t that he was too old or that he couldn’t keep up. And he wasn’t too battered and bruised from playing his hard-nosed style. Rather, Plett didn’t want to continue his career when his heart was no longer in it. Read more

Calgary Flames’ bewildering run reminiscent of last season’s Avalanche

Jared Clinton
Johnny Gaudreau and Joe Colborne of the Calgary Flames. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

Last season, the Colorado Avalanche went on an impeccable run. They won early, they won often, and they shocked pundits around the world by finishing atop the Central Division.

The entire time, however, the wild ride was clouded by statistical anomalies that said their pace couldn’t be maintained. With those anomalies now coming to roost – Colorado has lost 11 games this season – eyes have shifted the next great surprise: the Calgary Flames. Read more

Meet the Calgary Flames’ secret off-ice weapon

Ronnie Shuker
Ryan_Van_Asten

Talk about moving from the penthouse to the basement. And it’s not like Ryan van Asten was kicked out. This summer, he gave up all that Stanley Cup glory and great weather in Los Angeles to come to Calgary and take over a major fixer-upper in one of the most frigid climates on the NHL map.

Now, before you go thinking ‘What the f-bomb was he thinking?’ van Asten did have very good reasons for leaving sunny southern California after three seasons as the Kings’ strength and conditioning coach.

Read more

Alex Ovechkin becomes Capitals’ all-time leading scorer

Adam Proteau
Alex Ovechkin (Getty Images)

When the Capitals selected Alex Ovechkin first overall in the 2004 NHL entry draft, they knew they were getting a blue-chip talent. But if you told them it would take Ovechkin less than nine full seasons to become the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, they might have told you such an accomplishment was on the outer boundaries of their wildest dreams. Yet that’s where history led the Russian winger, who achieved that goal – knocking Caps icon Peter Bondra out of top spot – with an assist on Nicklas Backstrom’s first-period goal against Calgary Tuesday night: Read more

Jonas Hiller’s goofy goalie adventure quite the trip

Adam Proteau
Jonas Hiller (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

While his former Anaheim Ducks team was bringing 45-year-old goalie Dwayne Roloson out of retirement to serve in a backup role on an emergency basis, Flames netminder Jonas Hiller was having a different adventure of his own during a game in Montreal.

The 32-year-old Hiller was in net during the second period of Calgary’s game against the Canadiens when he decided to roam out to play the puck. The first-year Flame then lost a skate edge, or his focus, or both, and wound up looking like he was auditioning for So You Think You Can Dance: Read more

Alberta-bound Carey Price desperately needs a change in western fortunes

Carey Price (Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

Carey Price may have been a competitive calf roper when he was younger, but as soon as he steps on the ice in Alberta, he plays as though it’s his first rodeo. And if the Montreal Canadiens want to continue their white-hot start to the season, that’s going to have to change in a hurry.

So the most important person on the Montreal Canadiens as they head into a western Canadian road trip in first place in the Eastern Conference might be goaltending coach Stephane Waite. The man who has been most responsible for altering Carey Price’s mental approach to games could have to do some major psychological massaging on Price this week. Read more