Cody McLeod earns first star with 2 fights, a cheap shot, no points

Josh Elliott
Cody McLeod

There must have been something in the air in Denver on Saturday.

How else do you explain a fourth-line fighter getting first star honours after picking up 30 penalty minutes and getting kicked out of the game?

Colorado’s Cody McLeod fought twice, played 8:58 and took four shots on net to nab top honours in the game. Nevermind that his teammates outscored the Dallas Stars 4-1.

No, it was clearly McLeod’s game-changing dust-up with Jason Demers in the third period that turned the tide.
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Rangers’ Kevin Hayes scores a good, old-fashioned, end-to-end beauty of a goal

Adam Proteau
Kevin Hayes (Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

New York Rangers rookie center Kevin Hayes may be only 22, but he looked like a polished veteran Thursday night in Colorado as he dazzled on a one-man, end-to-end rush that ended with his ninth goal of the season.

The former Boston College star took hold of the puck deep in his own zone early in the second period and proceeded to streak down the middle of the ice. For some reason, the Avs players felt no inclination whatsoever to put a body on him, so he drove in to the left of Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov, around Colorado defenseman Tyson Barrie, then pulled back toward the front of the net to score an easy goal:

Okay, maybe easy isn’t the right word to describe it. But “fast” certainly is. The entire sequence, from the time Hayes began down the ice until the time he scored, took all of seven seconds. If you wonder why veteran NHLers are fond of saying this is a young man’s league, you should wonder no more.

10 players who retired with teams you wouldn’t expect

Mats Sundin

This season the NHL has had three very different situations play out when it comes to the retirement of notable players. Each of Daniel Alfredsson, Martin Brodeur, and Evgeni Nabokov had called it quits, but each in different ways.

Alfredsson signed a one-day free agent deal with the Senators to retire in the city that he called home for so many years, while Brodeur retired a Blue after signing a deal in St. Louis as a free agent after Brian Elliott went down with an injury.

Then there’s Nabokov. The long-time San Jose Sharks goaltender was traded back to San Jose on Monday following a brief stint with the Tampa Bay Lightning in a move that will allow the 39-year-old to hang them up in the place he had the best years of his career.

Many times, however, players aren’t allowed to ride off into the sunset the way that Alfredsson and Nabokov had. So, like Brodeur, these are 10 players that have retired in cities you wouldn’t expect: Read more

AHL center Colin Smith scores jaw-dropping overtime winner

Jared Clinton
Colin Smith celebrates his overtime winner. (DansLAction/YouTube)

Heading into Friday night, Lake Erie Monsters center Colin Smith had just one goal in his past fifteen games. If every scoring drought leads to a goal like Friday’s overtime winner, Monsters fans certainly won’t mind.

Smith, who had nine goals and 26 points heading into the Monsters’ contest against the Marlies, danced around Toronto blueliner Viktor Loov by putting the puck through his own legs, cut to the inside and slid the puck past goaltender Antoine Bibeau. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Evander Kane and Jets going separate ways

Evander Kane (Lance Thomson/NHLI via Getty Images)

Recent reports of discord between winger Evander Kane and his Winnipeg Jets teammates sent a jolt throughout the NHL. It also sent the rumor mill into a frenzy of speculation suggesting the 23-year-old’s days as a Jet are numbered.

Kane’s health, however, could throw a monkey wrench into any plans to move him by the March 2 trade deadline. The club announced Friday he was undergoing shoulder surgery which will sideline him four-to-six months, effectively ending his season. But his injury status failed to dampen trade chatter. Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston said placing Kane on LTIR doesn’t prevent a trade, claiming some still believe he could be deal by the March 2 trade deadline. Read more

Will infamous singer Gary Glitter’s latest sex crimes conviction finally convince NHL teams to stop playing his music?

Gary Glitter, real name Paul Gadd, leaves a London court  in November of 2014 after being charged with sex crimes. (Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)

Notorious British musician Gary Glitter was found guilty Thursday in London of multiple sex crimes with minors, and if you’re wondering how this awful man has a connection to hockey, rest assured, you’re not the only one. Here’s why: Glitter’s hit song, “Rock and Roll, Part 2″, continues to be played at NHL arenas. It’s astonishing that teams feel justified in using it despite Glitter’s numerous sex crime convictions prior to this latest one – and the use of his music needs to end. Today.

The 70-year-old Glitter was convicted of one count of attempted rape, one count of sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 13, and four counts of indecent assault. The charges all are in relation to crimes he committed against three girls in the 1970s; he’ll be sentenced February 27th and could receive the maximum sentence for unlawful sex with a minor of life in prison. And the former “glam rock” star, whose heyday came in the 1970s, has been found guilty of sex offenses with minors in courts around the world: in 1999, he was convicted of possessing child pornography (an offense for which he served a four-month prison sentence); in 2003, he was deported from Cambodia to Vietnam after sexual abuse allegations; and in 2006, he was sentenced to three years in a Vietnamese prison for sexually abusing two girls.

And yet, even with that information in the public domain, NHL teams have continued to play “Rock and Roll, Part 2″. The Colorado Avalanche still use the original version as their goal song. The Florida Panthers and Nashville Predators used it in their goal song celebrations last season. The San Jose Sharks use a muzak version for their goal song.

This is all so unnecessarily stubborn and, quite simply, unacceptable.
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Top 10 throwback jerseys that should make a comeback

Thomas Hickey (Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

On Tuesday night, the New York Islanders donned the infamous “Fisherman” jerseys to honor their history and the time they’ve spent at Nassau Coliseum. In exactly a month, the Phoenix Coyotes will don the same jerseys they wore in their debut season – the kachina threads that became best known for looking like something Picasso would have designed.

But what are the jerseys we’d most like to see make a comeback? With the advent of the Winter Classic and Stadium Series games, retro jerseys have a very clear place in today’s NHL, so it opens up the door for jersey lovers to let their minds wonder. These are the top 10 extinct jerseys that we’d like to see come back to life – even if only for a night. Read more

Rumor Roundup: O’Reilly, Franson, Niemi all on the market heading to deadline

o'reilly

Trade rumors continue to swirl about the Colorado Avalanche, who entered Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Stars with 53 points, just four back of a wild card berth in the Western Conference. It’s believed the Avalanche, one of this season’s worst defensive clubs, could be in the market for blue line help. Losing top defenseman Erik Johnson (knee injury) for three-to-eight weeks could add more urgency to their search.

Most of the Avalanche trade rumors center around 23-year-old winger Ryan O’Reilly. The 2014 Lady Byng Trophy winner will be eligible for unrestricted free agency in July 2016. O’Reilly’s history of contentious contract negotiations with the Avs has many pundits considering him a top trade candidate.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports of conflicting views over when O’Reilly could hit the trade block. Some observers believe the Avalanche are close to moving him while others think they’ll wait until the summer when the trade market could improve. Read more