If you don’t know by now the NHL’s points system is essentially a competitive funhouse mirror designed to give more teams the appearance they’ve got a shot at a playoff spot, you should. The league has, to the credit of its business acumen, recognized more teams can sell tickets to fans deeper into their regular-seasons if those fans see the teams are only four or five points out of a post-season berth; now, there’s very likely a very slim chance that team can leapfrog a bunch rivals playing each other down the stretch for one of the last playoff positions, but that’s not the point. It’s a mirage of sorts, and it works.
But the way things are shaping up in the Eastern Conference this year, not even the “loser point” looks like it’s going to create the illusion of competitiveness between the teams that make the post-season and the ones that don’t. Of course, most teams still have approximately 35 games to play, so you can’t be sure about anything just yet, but with the trade deadline set for March 2, it’s starting to look like the East’s eight non-playoff teams are going to serve as a feeder system for the much tighter West. Read more
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson, who was a late cut from the NHL All-Star Game due to injury, will miss the next three-to-eight weeks after having knee surgery, the team announced Monday.
Before being pulled from the all-star game in Columbus, the 26-year-old was enjoying a career year on offense, setting a personal best in goals (12) in just 47 games when his previous high was 10 goals in 79 games. Read more
With the 2015 NHL All-Star Game now history and teams returning to action on Tuesday, the focus shifts toward the approaching NHL trade deadline on March 2. It’s expected trade activity will increase over the next five weeks as more clubs fall out of playoff contention.
As the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch observes, only four teams – Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers – can be considered non-contenders and therefore sellers in the trade market. Between now and the trade deadline, Garrioch believes they will be joined by the Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers. Read more
Heading into the NHL All-Star Break (Jan. 22-26) there’s growing speculation over the trade status of Colorado Avalanche forward Ryan O’Reilly. TSN’s Bob McKenzie last week reported the Avalanche aren’t actively shopping the 23-year-old forward but are gauging his trade value.
It’s reached the point where O’Reilly is mentioned daily in the rumor mill. The Avalanche are in need of defensive help. It’s widely assumed O’Reilly, the 2014 Lady Byng Trophy winner, could become a trade chip to land a top-two defenseman. As a disciplined two-way performer who can play center or wing, O’Reilly could be a much-prized trade target. Read more
The Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild will each host outdoor games next season, according to a report Wednesday from TSN’s Bob McKenzie. The games will complement the Jan. 1 Winter Classic, which will take place in Boston’s Gillette Stadium and feature the Bruins and Montreal Canadiens. Read more
The Colorado Avalanche’s struggles this season continue to provide fodder for trade rumors involving versatile forward Ryan O’Reilly, winner of the 2014 Lady Byng Trophy.
It’s well known the Avalanche lack skilled blueline depth, which is reflected in their woeful shots-against per game and puck-possession numbers. Some pundits believe the 23-year-old O’Reilly could fetch the Avs a top-two defenseman. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggests shipping O’Reilly to Arizona for Coyotes blueliner Keith Yandle makes sense for both clubs, though O’Reilly’s unrestricted free agent status in 2016 could be a sticking point. Read more
Colorado Avalanche/Lake Erie Monster goalie Reto Berra joined the likes of Martin Brodeur, Ron Hextall and Mike Smith on Friday by scoring a goal as a netminder in a professional hockey game.
Berra put the finishing touch on a 5-1 win by his Lake Erie Monsters over the Chicago Wolves by lofting the puck down the ice into an empty net.
The feat alone is impressive, but what’s more impressive is that it was no close call or technicality. Berra made a save on Chicago and immediately blasted the puck down the ice to hit dead center on the opposing net.
By Dom Luszczyszyn
The first half of the season is officially in the books, which makes the perfect opportunity to look at who can bounce back after under performing during the first 41 games.
Thanks to recent advances in NHL analytics, it’s become much easier to pinpoint why certain players aren’t scoring at their normal rate. Whether it’s bad luck or bad play, the answer can usually be found in the numbers. Read more