As Thornton passes Beliveau, five milestones to watch for this season

Roberto Luongo (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

On Thursday night, with two assists, Joe Thornton passed Jean Beliveau on the all-time scoring list. His 1220 points are one more than the legendary Beliveau, and bump ‘Jumbo’ inside the top-40.

While passing an all-time great is an incredible feat, there are several other NHLers who are well on their way to reaching some outstanding milestones this season. Below you can find the top-5 milestones that can be hit by season’s end.

Honorable mention goes to Scott Gomez, who is seven games from 1000 played in his career, Carey Price, who sits six wins from 200, and Henrik Sedin, who is a mere 32 points from reaching the 900-point plateau. Read more

Jets’ Ladd and Avs’ Landeskog throw down in slugfest between captains

Jared Clinton
ladd

If this fight between Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd and Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog is any indication, there may be a new rivalry budding in the Central Division.

During Thursday night’s contest, with the score tied at one apiece midway through the second period, you could see Landeskog and Ladd talking to each other a bit as they made their way to the faceoff circle to the left of Avalanche goaltender Calvin Pickard. As soon as the puck was dropped, the mitts were off, and the two leaders threw bombs trying to spark their respective teams: Read more

The NHL’s biggest pleasant surprises and letdowns after one-quarter of the season

Boychuk, Okposo and Tavares

With December closing in, the NHL has completed one-quarter of its regular season. (And as my colleague Ken Campbell points out, do not call this the quarter pole.) These points in the campaign always provide an opportunity to take stock of what we’ve seen so far and identify the teams that have stood out for the right and wrong reasons. With that in mind, here are the league’s three biggest pleasant surprises and bitter letdowns to this point:

Biggest pleasant surprises

NEW YORK ISLANDERS. When the Islanders started the season 6-4-0 in the month of October, fans and media were intrigued, if not bowled over; they’d seen the franchise do well in short bursts before, but it never lasted during the reign of GM Garth Snow. But in November, the Isles have been an orange-and-blue steamroller, losing only twice in 12 games since Oct. 30 and beating quality opponents – including Anaheim, Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, and Pittsburgh (in both games of a home-and-home series last week). They’re currently riding a five-game win streak, and although there’s a chance they could fall back, as long as their key players can stay healthy, the Islanders should contend for a top-four seed in the playoffs. A big reason for that is Snow’s off-season acquisitions of Jaroslav Halak, Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy, who couldn’t have worked out better thus far.

CALGARY FLAMES. Expectations for the Flames were about as low as could be entering the season, but under coach Bob Hartley, this young team has drastically exceeded them thanks to an impressive work ethic and some good fortune in the shooting percentage department. Many continue to expect Calgary will at some point take a step backward, but even if it all falls apart from here, what they’ve shown so far – thanks in large part to brilliant young talents such as rookie Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, and the veteran calm of captain Mark Giordano – has earned them a special spot in the hearts of Flames fans. Read more

Quebec Remparts sold for between $20 million and $25 million: Source

Quebec Remparts  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

For those who like to portray junior hockey as a string of Mom and Pop operations that struggle to make ends meet in the face of mounting efforts to unionize the players, today could not have been a good-news day.

According to multiple reports, the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec League have been sold to media giant Quebecor. (Which, in the interest of full disclosure, recently negotiated the purchase of 15 magazines from Transcontinental Media, one of which is The Hockey News.) Read more

Detroit Red Wings prospect Dylan Larkin heads up The Hot List

Dylan Larkin (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

The big stories in the prospect world lately have been college related. Specifically, players changing their minds about where they want to go. Brock Boeser was headed to Wisconsin, but the 2015 prospect has re-opened matters. And Notre Dame has been bit twice in the past couple days, first by Matthew Tkachuk (2016) and now by Brent Gates (2015). Will these talented players end up in major junior, or just elsewhere on the college scene? We’ll keep you posted, but for now let’s look at some of the other kids making noise in the hockey world right now.

Read more

Struggles, streaks, and scoring: 10 unexpected stats at the quarter point of the season

Jakub Voracek's amazing start means fantasy players could get a king's ransom for him in a trade. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

There are always early season surprises. That’s just the nature of hockey. A lucky bounce here and there, and you have Jon Sim fighting for the lead in preseason scoring, which is something that has actually happened in the past.

Over the course of the year, however, these things tend to even out. At the quarter mark of the season, trends are starting to develop. Of those trends, you’ll notice some are related, while others, not so much. These are the ten most unexpected stats at the quarter-pole. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Dupuis’ injury has Penguins perusing trade market

Pascal Dupuis

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ forward lines suffered a serious blow when veteran winger Pascal Dupuis was sidelined for six months with a blood clot in one of his lungs. It didn’t take long for rumors to surface over how they’ll address Dupuis’ absence.

USA Today’s Kevin Allen believes the Penguins have trade options to pursue. Among them are Buffalo Sabres wingers Drew Stafford and Chris Stewart, who are both eligible for unrestricted free agency in July, and Edmonton Oilers right wing Nail Yakupov. Read more