Report: Babcock to coach Canada at World Cup, Quenneville, Julien tabbed as assistants

Mike Babcock.  (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Mike Babcock’s already stellar trophy case might be even more impressive by next October.

The Toronto Maple Leafs bench boss will be announced Thursday as the coach of Team Canada for the 2016 World Cup, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. Babcock, 52, is currently the only coach to enter the Triple Gold Club, having won a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold and World Championship gold. But behind a group of top-tier Canadian stars at the World Cup, Babcock may be able to add another championship to his list of accolades.

Babcock won’t be the only member named to the coaching staff, however, as Dreger reported that Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville and Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien will join the coaching staff as assistants. Read more

Teuvo Teravainen scores easy goal thanks to incredible no-look pass from Patrick Kane

Jared Clinton
Teuvo Teravainen (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

This could be the year of the no-look pass. Already this season players such as New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes and Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov have setup teammates for easy tallies thanks to ridiculous behind-the-back feeds, and Chicago Blackhawks right winger Patrick Kane can be added to the list.

Midway through the third period of Monday’s tilt between the Blackhawks and red-hot Los Angeles Kings, the score was tied at two when Kane lost control of the puck in the Kings’ zone. However, Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov won a loose puck and chipped it down below the goal line to Kane, who somehow spotted Teuvo Teravainen sneaking in to the left of the Los Angeles netminder Jonathan Quick. Kane’s pass was right on the tape of Teravainen, who made no mistake: Read more

Oilers’ McDavid headlines impressive rookie crop

Connor McDavid (Andy Devlin/Getty Images)

Most of the pre-season scuttlebutt pitted two so-called generational players, Edmonton Oilers center and Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel, in a duel for the Calder Trophy.

Advantage McDavid.

As the calendar flipped over to November, Eichel had racked up four goals in 11 games, putting him in a tie for 12th in rookie scoring. McDavid, meanwhile, sits atop the rookie race.

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Off-season moves already paying off for first-place Stars

Ryan Kennedy
Johnny Oduya. (Getty Images)

Give credit to Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill. He always makes the summer interesting. His tenure in Texas kicked off with a bang in 2013 when he swiped Tyler Seguin in a summer deal with Boston, and he followed that up by prying Jason Spezza from Ottawa one off-season later.

So what did the erstwhile Red Wings executive do for an encore? He snagged Patrick Sharp from the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, who happened to be in a perilous cap situation. The trade, which also saw blueline prospect Stephen Johns come to the Stars in exchange for veteran D-man Trevor Daley and agitator Ryan Garbutt, had been in the works for more than a month before the two sides came to a conclusion, and Nill was open in his admiration for trade partner Stan Bowman. “I have so much respect for Chicago,” Nill said. “That’s where we want to get to.”

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Here’s why Blackhawks’ bizarre shooting woes won’t last

Jared Clinton
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville speaks to assistant Kevin Dineen and captain Jonathan Toews (Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images)

A quick glance at the Blackhawks’ past several outings wouldn’t really raise many eyebrows. Over their past five games, Chicago has lost just once while picking up two shutout overtime victories and a pair of regulation wins along the way. The problem, though, is the Blackhawks have been brutal at even strength.

In Chicago’s 3-1 loss the Winnipeg Jets Thursday, the Blackhawks scored for the first time in regulation since their 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Oct. 22. But Chicago’s lone goal in the loss to the Jets, an iffy tally by Patrick Kane that somehow found its way through Michael Hutchinson, came on the power play. Now, as the Blackhawks head to Minnesota to take on the stingy Wild, they look desperate for any kind of break at 5-on-5.

To find the last time Chicago scored even strength, you have to go back to Artem Anisimov’s tally four minutes into the first period of their Oct. 22 tilt with Florida. That’s right: the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks haven’t scored a goal at 5-on-5 for more than a week, over which time they’ve played three games. Read more

Five free-agent signings making an early impact

Justin Williams (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The salary cap era has made it increasingly difficult for GMs around the league to improve their clubs through trades. As such, it has put more importance on being able to lock up the right free agent to add to a team’s already stacked roster or be the piece that can change the tides.

If the 2015 free agent market will be remembered for anything, it will be the cost-conscious ways of GMs league-wide, which led to some free agents having a difficult time finding work. Veteran winger Curtis Glencross, for instance, chose to retire instead of heading any further into the season without a contract. Blueliner Cody Franson, who doesn’t appear on this list, waited almost the entire off-season before signing a deal with Buffalo.

But even in a tight market, there are more than a few GMs would made savvy signings, be it by dishing out top dollar or using a cost-effective model. Here are five free agent signings who have been well worth their money: Read more

Watch Jeremy Roenick sneak up on, attempt to catch live alligator

Jeremy Roenick approaches an alligator (via Twitter)

Whether you’re a fan of Jeremy Roenick’s or not, it’s hard to deny that he has always been entertaining. Part of that entertainment comes from Roenick’s antics, which have included on-ice dance breaks and his outspokenness. His latest attempt at crowd-pleasing, though, was equal parts dangerous and crazy.

In a video posted by Philadelphia sports radio host Rhea Hughes, Roenick, a nine-time NHL all-star, sneaks up behind a sunbathing alligator on the golf course. As Roenick approaches the alligator, he asks fellow broadcaster Keith Jones, who is behind the camera, to make sure he’s getting both Roenick and the alligator in the frame. Then, in one move, Roenick turns and dives at the alligator: Read more