Monday night, Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar made a gorgeous alley-oop pass to Marian Gaborik. It wouldn’t have been surprising were that one of the greatest assists of the season. But then Tuesday night’s tilt between the Dallas Stars and Ottawa Senators happened.
First, we’ll start with Dallas’ Jordie Benn. He must have been checking out Kopitar’s highlights pre-game, because with the Stars down 5-1 with little less than 14 minutes remaining in the third, Benn took a page from Kopitar’s book and put what can best be compared to a Hail Mary in football right on the tape of Jamie Benn, his brother: Read more
Monday night’s NHL games marked the official passing of the first quarter of the season and like Nathan MacKinnon, time flies, doesn’t it? It seems like just yesterday we were waiting for the league to rubber stamp the Las Vegas expansion application and allow Bill Foley into the annual owners’ croquet game. We’re still waiting on that and, if Jeremy Jacobs’ comments have any merit – and they do – we’ll be waiting a lot longer.
Off the ice, that was one of the big surprises of the season so far. Between the boards, here are some of the others that have surfaced after the first quarter:
I had an uncle who claimed he had never been wrong. Used to insist he didn’t know how it feels to be wrong.
“Is it like an itch?” he’d joke.
Me, well I sure know how it feels to be wrong. When you are as opinionated as I am, being wrong comes with the territory.
I’ll give you a few examples:
The salary cap era has made it incredibly important to find players who can contribute offensively while not breaking the bank. Usually, these players fill in bottom-six roles and eat up the minutes not reserved for the top-line players. Put it this way: it’s not often you find a winger making league minimum playing on the top power play unit.
But every so often, a team will find a steal of a deal. Be it a veteran coming into camp late or a player coming off their entry-level deal that is just hitting their stride, the cost-effective players are the ones that can help make or break a season. The cap flexibility doesn’t hurt, either.
Before we build the most cost-effective roster possible though, some guidelines. First, the players on this list have to have at least eclipsed the 10-point plateau. As nearly every team is closing in on the 20-game mark, the truest value players will be chipping in a point every other game while taking up a fraction of the cap. Second, in order to cut out the players on cheap deals by virtue of being on entry-level contracts, only players on standard player contracts have been included. So even though Nathan MacKinnon is tearing it up for Colorado, the Avalanche playmaker won’t be on this cost-effective list.
Here are the six players providing their clubs with the most bang for their buck: Read more
Antti Niemi is still getting adjusted to life in Dallas, and it appears the Stars’ equipment managers are still getting used to have Niemi around. Case in point: Niemi hit the ice for warmups Tuesday with his name hilariously misspelled.
There were more than a few of those in attendance who caught the Stars’ gaffe, and that includes the MSG crew who were broadcasting the game for the hometown Buffalo Sabres. Leave it to Sabres all-time great play-by-play announcer Rick Jeanneret to point out the error in spelling like only he could: Read more
Dallas Stars right winger Ales Hemsky isn’t known for his physical play, but the 32-year-old threw a dangerous check Sunday night that left Detroit Red Wings blueliner Jonathan Ericsson downed, bloodied and serving a minor penalty for roughing.
Hemsky’s blow to Ericsson came with less than eight minutes remaining in the third frame of Sunday’s tilt. With the puck in the corner and Ericsson attempting to make a play along the boards, Hemsky came in from behind and delivered a high hit that left the Red Wings defenseman bleeding from the right side of his head: Read more
The Dallas Stars’ focus in the off-season was improving on the defensive side of the puck. GM Jim Nill went out and added blueliner Johnny Oduya and goaltender Antti Niemi, and while both certainly help, it’s impossible to count out just how much John Klingberg has meant to the team.
Klingberg established himself among the elite young defensemen early on in 2014-15, his rookie season, and, despite playing just 65 games, finished with 11 goals and 40 points. But on the grander stage, Klingberg flew under the radar. Sure, those who paid attention to the Stars or were checking in on rookie scoring races knew where Klingberg stood, but the then-22-year-old didn’t get nearly enough praise last season.
Klingberg finished fifth in Calder Trophy voting, but it wouldn’t be hard to argue he had a better season than any of those who finished ahead of him, including winner Aaron Ekblad. Read more
It seemed no player in any arena in any game Tuesday night was safe from a questionable hit. Alex Ovechkin, Zac Rinaldo and Anze Kopitar all found themselves on the receiving ends.
First, the Washington Capitals’ Ovie took a spear to the groin from New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal: