Amidst all the other accolades rookies Bo Horvat, John Klingberg, and Adam Clendening may receive, you can be certain that one thing they’ll never forget is there first NHL goals. For each, that marker came on Thursday night.
Horvat, the ninth overall pick in the 2013 draft, has only suited up for seven games for the Vancouver Canucks due to a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the first month of the season. It was lucky number seven that provided the former London Knight with his first tally: Read more
Ever since Arizona State announced that its successful ACHA club team would be making the leap to Division 1 hockey, coach Greg Powers has been fighting a war against his inbox. See, every time the Sun Devils bench boss finishes reading an email, five or six more pop up. Powers has received about 600 emails in the past day from potential recruits, family advisors (ie agents) and other ACHA coaches who want to know how his school did it.
“We expected it was going to be big news,” Powers said. “I’ve been pushing Arizona State as the most unique college hockey experience in the country for four years.”
Arizona State has national name recognition thanks to it affiliation in other sports with the Pac-12 conference, it’s a huge school (80,000 students) and it has that great Southwestern climate to boast. The Sun Devils also had a nice model in Penn State, a similar school (minus the weather) that went from the ACHA to Division 1 just a few years ago and is already thriving in the newly-formed Big Ten conference.
“Penn State is awesome,” Powers said. “Their blueprint for success has worked. It’s real, you can do it. We did it.”
In fact, when the Nittany Lions were in their transition season, they hosted Powers’ Arizona State team and the Sun Devils came away with a win. The victory put the school on the map and that’s when the rumblings began in the greater Phoenix area.
So if other club-level schools are calling Powers, we may not be done yet with college expansion in the near future. But which schools would bring the most buzz with them? Here’s a top 10 based on national prominence, geographical uniqueness (so if your state already has a team, too bad) and conference links, if any. As a bonus, I’ve included young local players from each area.
When I look at the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014, the first thing I think of is the eye-popping talent and character of the players and people. The second thing that comes to mind, oddly enough, is Martin Brodeur.
Because as the former Devils goalie floats in limbo these days, not employed by any team but not ready to say he’s retired, I hear some say he’s doing himself a disservice by not realizing what the lack of job offers is telling him, and suggest Brodeur should call a press conference as soon as possible to put his 21-season career to bed. But when you look at the careers of this year’s HHOF inductees, it becomes clear even the best of the best can’t help but play past their best due date. Guys like Red Wings icon (and 2015 lock Hall-of-Famer) Nicklas Lidstrom or Canadiens great Ken Dryden, who retire before a precipitous decline in effectiveness sets in, are the exception. The majority of the elite – including 2014 honorees Peter Forsberg and Mike Modano, and to a lesser degree, Dominik Hasek and Rob Blake – did not leave the sport at their peak. Read more
Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw has fought twice in the last two seasons. Both bouts have been with Dallas Stars winger Antoine Roussel. Safe to say the two don’t like each other very much, and the pair renewed hostilities on Sunday night.
Midway through the first period, with the Stars up 2-1, Shaw came across behind Roussel, and whatever Shaw said certainly sparked something in his opponent. Roussel immediately turned, the gloves were off, and the two threw haymakers in a sure Fight of the Year candidate: Read more
Since the implementation of the salary cap in 2005, early-season NHL trades have become rare. Even the ability for teams to absorb part of a player’s salary failed to spark an increase in player movement during a season’s opening weeks.
That partially explains why it took a month for this regular season’s first trade to occur, when the Dallas Stars shipped aging defenseman Sergei Gonchar to the Montreal Canadiens for forward Travis Moen. Since that deal there’s anticipation over when the next NHL trade will take place. Read more
Take a close look at the four men who will be inducted in the players’ category of the Hockey Hall of Fame Monday night. You’ll see something you’ve never seen before, and may never see again.
Four players, four different countries represented. A Hall of Fame cohort that includes Rob Blake, Mike Modano, Peter Forsberg and Dominik Hasek belongs in the debate of the best of all-time. We’re not going to get into that debate, but hey, the 1972 class included Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau, Bernie Geoffrion, Hap Holmes and Hooley Smith. But there is no Hall of Fame induction group that represents the global reach of the game more prominently than this one. Read more
Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen hasn’t had the best beginning to the season, but if he continues making unbelievable saves like the one he made on Kings center Jarret Stoll Thursday, Stars fans are going to forget his slow start.
With his Stars up 2-0 early in the second period against the host Kings, Lehtonen had to deal with a flurry of activity in front of his net: L.A. left winger Kyle Clifford fired the puck toward Lehtonen; Kings right winger Trevor Lewis tried to bat the puck past him before knocking it over to Stoll, who likely thought he had an easy goal given how much wide-open net he was staring at. But because Lehtonen still had something to say about it, this happened: Read more
Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill was universally lauded for his off-season moves. Signing Ales Hemsky and trading for Jason Spezza? Just like that, Nill landed two of the biggest off-season fish in one fell swoop. But an oversight on the defensive side of the puck has Dallas trying to claw their way out of the Central Division basement.
Breaking down the reasons for Dallas’ lack of success isn’t easy. From the outside looking in, you see a team that has all the makings of a contender, but hasn’t been able to produce the results. Read more