To say that Carolina Hurricanes winger Alexander Semin has had a down year would be an understatement, but when a player possesses the type of skill Semin does, there are going to be flashes of brilliance in even the worst seasons. His goal Monday night goes to prove that.
With the Hurricanes down 4-1 to the Buffalo Sabres early in the third period, Semin picked up the puck in the neutral zone and broke into the Sabres zone on an odd-man rush with Jordan Staal. With Staal loaded up for the one timer, Semin looked for an opening and checked out the passing lane before pulling the puck around Buffalo netminder Anders Lindback and using some slick puck handling for the tally: Read more
The Carolina Hurricanes and Patrick Dwyer don’t have a lot left to look forward to this season, but the Canes and the veteran right winger received a boost of confidence Monday night when he craftily stickhandled around a pair of Sabres defenders and scored a beautiful backhanded goal on Buffalo’s Anders Lindback.
The Canes were down 4-0 in Buffalo late in the second frame when Dwyer – who had scored only four goals and 11 points in 67 games heading into Monday’s action – picked up the puck along the boards in the Sabres’ zone, danced between two Buffalo players, then roofed a backhander over Lindback’s right shoulder: Read more
In his previous nine NHL seasons, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin reached or surpassed the 50-goal plateau five times. And the 29-year-old winger made it six times in 10 years with his 50th goal of the 2014-15 campaign.
The Capitals were home in Washington hosting the Carolina Hurricanes when their captain went to work 11 minutes into the first period, wiring a wrist shot past goalie Cam Ward: Read more
The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Sam Carchidi reports Flyers GM Ron Hextall doesn’t believe he needs to make many off-season moves. Hextall claims there won’t be a massive turnover, though Carchidi notes the Flyers have limited cap space this summer unless they can shed some salaries.
Topping the list of those who could be moved is unhappy forward Vincent Lecavalier, who has three years remaining on his contract at an annual cap hit of $4.5 million. Lecavalier, 34, has been largely consigned to fourth-line duty this season when he hasn’t been a healthy scratch.
A report in the Philadelphia Daily News suggests the Flyers’ first preference is to trade Lecavalier. With $12 million of his $22.5 million already paid out, the veteran center could be attractive to small-market clubs. A buyout is an option, though it would cost the Flyers $1.75-million annually in dead cap space for the next six seasons. Lecavalier could also retire, though that’s not an option he considers palatable. Read more
Before any Pittsburgh fans go and get their jerseys in a jumble, just pause for a second, take a deep breath and think about it: if the Penguins fail to get back to the Stanley Cup final for the sixth straight season, what else is left for the franchise to do but blow up the core?
After an off-season of upheaval in which Pittsburgh brought in a new coach, a new GM and a new supporting cast for Sidney Crosby, there would be few options left but to raze the roster to the ground and begin anew. Sure, the Penguins could use Marc-Andre Fleury as a scapegoat and try using the same roster again next season with a different goalie, but that would only be putting off the inevitable. (Just ask the San Jose Sharks, who are years behind on the rebuilding schedule after sticking with their core despite perennial playoff failures, including their first-round faceplant last year.)
The best thing for the Penguins to do would be to try to trade Crosby for the next Crosby.
To all those goaltenders out there who have made outstanding saves this season: we’re sorry. We really are. You did your best, but it’s going to take a miracle save to come close to beating out Cam Ward for the best glove stop of the season.
Ward’s monster glove save has all the elements necessary for a great save. Was it made in desperation? Check. Did he have to cover a lot of ground to make the stop? Check. Were there fans thinking the Penguins were about to score before Ward reached out? Absolutely. And not only did Ward extend to his physical limit to snare David Perron‘s shot, he did it in a one-goal game. Read more
The CHL playoffs begin tonight and it’s going to be a lot of fun. Connor McDavid has one last chance to win it all with the Erie Otters in the Ontario League, but the powerfully-built Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds have designs of their own. Out in the Western League, Kelowna and Brandon seem to be on a collision course for the final, while the Quebec League has the added wrinkle of sending two teams to the Memorial Cup – one being the host Quebec Remparts, who won’t want to crawl in through the back door.
Here’s a look at all the first-round matchups in the CHL, with a bit more info on one series per league that has me riveted from the get-go.
For months now, hockey fans have slowly built their anticipation for one of the most highly-consequential NHL draft lotteries since the process was introduced in 1995. And now it appears the league has settled on a date people can circle on their calendars.
According to a Sportsnet.ca report, the league has decided to hold this year’s draft lottery Apr. 18, as part of a Hockey Night In Canada playoff broadcast. That leaves a little more than three weeks for fans of sad-sack teams to firm up viewing party plans and binge on lottery simulation websites – and when you look at some of the teams with a decent chance of drafting nascent superstars Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel (and the stakes involved if they fail to win the lottery), you’ve got near-perfect conditions to deliver what could very well be hockey’s most drama-packed off-ice night in history.
For one thing, the increasingly-improving chance the Maple Leafs have at McDavid is going to push TV ratings to record levels. Like them or not, the Leafs have millions of fans, and after their brutal free-fall through the NHL standings this season those fans are going to try every superstitious trick in the book in the hope it allows fortune to smile on their beloved Buds. If that does happen, the city of Toronto is going to instantly explode in the biggest hockey-related celebration since a Stanley Cup was won here in 1967.
And for as dramatic as that result would be for the Leafs franchise – it would almost certainly tempt team management to fast-track their rebuild – think of the ripple effect it would have on the rest of the league, and on Toronto rivals in particular: Read more