Cam Ward makes insane diving stick save, throws hat in the ring for save of the year

Jared Clinton
Matt Duchene (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

It’s hard to call anything the true save of the year when the regular season isn’t over, but New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist had a surefire candidate with a ridiculous diving stick save on Ryan Johansen. Lundqvist has company now, though, because Wednesday night Cam Ward made a game-saving paddle stop that will leave your jaw hanging.

In a scoreless tie between the Hurricanes and Avalanche, Carolina’s Kris Versteeg blew a tire at the Colorado blueline which sent Jarome Iginla, Matt Duchene and Mikko Rantanen on a 3-on-1 against Hurricanes defenseman Michal Jordan. Following a slick drop pass by Iginla, Duchene made a great move on Jordan that forced Ward to drop into his butterfly and left an open net.

Duchene held onto the puck and slid into space to take a shot at the wide-open cage. The shot should have given the Avalanche a 1-0 lead and should have resulted in the game-winning goal. Instead, Ward dove to his right, stuck out his paddle and smacked away Duchene’s open-net attempt: Read more

Rumor Roundup: A coaching change or trade seems inevitable in Columbus

Todd Richards (Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

Before the start of this season, a number of NHL observers projected the Columbus Blue Jackets as a potential playoff contender in the Metropolitan Division. Injuries decimated their roster last season, but with their depth in promising young talent and a healthier lineup, the Jackets were expected to have a bounce-bock season.

Unfortunately, things haven’t gone according to plan for the Jackets, opening this season with six consecutive losses. They enter this week with the worst record in the league, sparking speculation that change could be coming if the losses continue to mount.

Shawn Mitchell of The Columbus Dispatch reports the Jackets’ poor start has coach Todd Richards “walking a fine line.” He also speculates an early season trade to shake up the roster is “a very real possibility.”

Mitchell notes Richards hasn’t received any reassurances from GM Jarmo Kekalainen about his job status, though the latter claims they have a “good working relationship.” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes Kekalainen prefers a trade over a coaching change.

It wouldn’t be surprising if the Jackets’ struggles prompted some rival GMs to pitch trade suggestions, hoping to convince Kekalainen, to part with one of his affordable young players. Defenseman Ryan Murray or forwards like Boone Jenner, Cam Atkinson, William Karlsson or Alexander Wennberg (currently sidelined by a concussion) could be on their radar.

Of the Blue Jackets’ youngsters, center Ryan Johansen is by far the best. His contentious contract negotiation history with Kekalainen could prompt some inquiries. Friedman, however, doesn’t believe the 24-year-old Johansen is available, citing his role as their first-line center.

The Jackets must do something soon to arrest their tailspin. Another week of losses makes a coaching change or trade inevitable.

Like the Blue Jackets, the Carolina Hurricanes have stumbled from the gate, entering this week with a 1-4-0 record. Though they’ve been among the league leaders in fewest shots-against per game, their blueline depth took a hit when James Wisniewski suffered a knee injury in their season opener.

Friedman believes Hurricanes GM Ron Francis likely received some calls from teams carrying defensemen they’d like to move. Though Friedman didn’t name any clubs, the Philadelphia Flyers could be among them. The Flyers must shed salary and free up space on their defense. Veteran Luke Schenn ($3.6-million cap hit) was a recent healthy scratch, fuelling speculation he’s the most likely to be dealt.

However, Friedman claims the Hurricanes aren’t interested in quick-fix solutions. While they’re carrying over $9 million in cap room, Francis could be under a self-imposed ceiling. If so, he’ll want a promising and affordable young blueliner who can be part of his club’s long-term plans.

Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website,, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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Brock McGinn scores first NHL goal on first shift in first minute of first game

Justin Dickie

Brock McGinn had a debut for the ages on Friday evening.

Just 55 seconds into his first NHL game, the 21-year-old Carolina Hurricanes left winger followed up on his own rebound and beat Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard to spot his club an early 1-0 lead. His first NHL goal. On his first NHL shift. In the first minute of his first NHL game.

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Rumor Roundup: Hurricanes unsure what to do with Eric Staal

Eric Staal (Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

Speculation persists over the future of Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal. An unrestricted free agent next July, his long-term future with the Hurricanes remains uncertain.

Sportsnet’s Damien Cox reports Staal (who turns 31 on Oct. 29) and the Hurricanes have put contract negotiations on hold. He apparently wants to see how the club performs this season before deciding if he’ll sign a contract extension. His current salary-cap hit is $8.25 million, while in actual salary he’s making $9.5 million this season.

Other factors could come into play for the long-time Hurricanes star. He and his family are happily settled in the Raleigh, N.C. region. Brother Jordan is under a long-term deal with the club. If the Hurricanes show real signs of improvement, it could convince Eric to stay.

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Talented crop of rookies will make Calder chase tough for Eichel, McDavid

Nikolaj Ehlers (Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

You’ll have to forgive some of this season’s rookie crop. They didn’t get the memo that the 2015-16 campaign was supposed to be a two-horse race for the Calder Trophy, pitting 2015’s first- and second-overall picks, Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, against each other.

Though most of the fresh faces have only played one contest, none of the quick-starters have looked like one-game wonders. Chicago’s Artemi Panarin or Winnipeg’s duo of Nikolaj Ehlers and Nic Petan, who have suited up in a pair of contests, haven’t looked out of place in either game. That’s not to say McDavid or Eichel have — McDavid showed flashes of brilliance in his NHL debut and Eichel scored in his first career game — but rather to say this season may not be the 82-game dogfight between the draft’s top two selections that one might have thought. Read more

Former NHLer Aaron Ward arrested, charged with ‘assault against a woman’

Jared Clinton
Aaron Ward (Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

Former NHL blueliner and TSN analyst Aaron Ward was arrested Friday at his home in Cary, N.C., and has been charged with two misdemeanors.

Ward, 42, was charged with “assault on a female” and interfering with emergency communications, according to WNCN. Ward allegedly pushed his wife during what TSN called a “domestic disagreement” and took her phone, resulting in the interfering with emergency communications, according to The News & Observer’s Luke DeCock.

DeCock also reported that Ward’s wife, Kelly, was also arrested and charged with an assault misdemeanor, a charge which was rescinded by Cary Police, and that Ward will have to spend the next 48 hours in jail, as per North Carolina state law. Read more

James Wisniewski injured 47 seconds into Hurricanes debut

Jared Clinton
James Wisniewski clutches his left knee. (via YouTube)

Carolina didn’t make many big moves in the off-season, but one deal Hurricanes GM Ron Francis did pull off was the acquisition of defenseman James Wisniewski from the Anaheim Ducks. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, Francis and Wisniewski, the blueliners time in Carolina hasn’t started so well.

In Thursday’s season-opening contest against the Nashville Predators, Wisniewski went down with an apparent leg injury little more than three minutes into the game. For Wisniewski, the injury occured after he had spent a mere 47 seconds on ice for the Hurricanes and it was his second shift of his tenure with the team.

It’s uncertain how long, exactly, the 31-year-old will be sidelined, but at first glance the injury didn’t appear to be a minor one: Read more

Rumor Roundup: The top trade targets in 2015-16

Dustin Byfuglien (Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

With another NHL season underway, here’s a look at the NHL players most likely to be dealt by the Feb. 29 trade deadline.

Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes. The 30-year-old Hurricanes is an unrestricted free agent next summer. His production’s declined in recent years and the club is rebuilding. If there’s no progress in either the Hurricanes’ performance or Staal’s contract talks, he could agree to be dealt to a contender at the deadline. Read more