Toronto Maple Leafs prospect William Nylander can learn from a Finnish foe

Ryan Kennedy
William Nylander dodges Greg Pateryn (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

When the Toronto Maple Leafs brought 2014 first-rounder William Nylander over from Sweden last month, they were giving the talented teen a chance to escape a bit of a gong show with his Modo team back home, while also learning the rigors of the North American game in the AHL.

Five games and two points into his career with the Toronto Marlies and Nylander is still adjusting.

“It’s getting better,” he said. “A little more time and it will be like normal.”

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Rumor Roundup: Detroit Red Wings ready to add at deadline

Lyle Richardson
Mike Green (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

The approaching March 2 trade deadline has Detroit Red Wings management assessing their roster to determine if any moves will be necessary. The Wings sit third in the Atlantic Division and also the Eastern Conference, putting them into the “buyer” category as the deadline nears.

MLive.com’s Ansar Khan reports Red Wings GM Ken Holland and coach Mike Babcock recently met to discuss their club’s needs. Khan notes the Wings are healthier than they were a year ago and thus there’s less urgency to make a deal. Babcock, however, suggests just because the Wings are in a good spot now doesn’t mean they won’t need help by the deadline. Read more

Legendary coach Al Arbour welcomes fan notes in battle with dementia

Al Arbour

The man who led the New York Islanders to four consecutive Stanley Cups is now looking for a little motivation from his fans.

Hall of Fame coach and player Al Arbour, 82, is reportedly being treated for dementia and Parkinson’s disease at a retirement home in Florida. Toronto journalist Howard Berger tweeted a photo of Arbour in Florida earlier this week (since deleted from Twitter).
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Rumor Roundup: Stars eyeing pair of Maple Leafs defensemen

Cody Franson (Abelimages/Getty Images)

In recent days there’s been some buzz claiming the Dallas Stars could be interested in Toronto Maple Leafs defensemen Dion Phaneuf or Cody Franson. The basis for this was a report on the Stars needs by Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News.

Heika, however, didn’t say the Stars were actively interested in the pair, only that the club’s focus “seems to be on minute-munching defenders with size.” He merely listed Phaneuf and Franson among several blueline options (Arizona’s Zbynek Michalek and Ottawa’s Marc Methot being the others) who might be available leading up to the March trade deadline. Read more

Report: Minnesota, Colorado to host NHL outdoor games next season

The crowd at Chicago's Soldier Field for the 2014 Stadium Series game between the Hawks and Pens. (Getty Images)

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

What’s it going to take for Mike Babcock to win the Jack Adams?

Adam Proteau
Mike Babcock (Getty Images)

If there is a hockey god, one of these years, Mike Babcock is going to get recognized as the NHL’s top coach. It didn’t happen for him last year, when he dragged the league’s second-most injured team to its 23rd consecutive playoff appearance; Colorado’s Patrick Roy won it then, and there was a good case to be made as to why he should’ve. Babcock also didn’t win it the season he led Detroit to a Stanley Cup championship; then-Caps coach Bruce Boudreau won it that year. Year-in and year-out, Babcock works with whatever lineup he’s been given – more recently, an injury-riddled roster with star players in their twilight, as well as youngsters developing their game – and wrenches the most out of it.

Despite leading the Wings to at least the second round of the playoffs in six of his nine seasons behind their bench, Babcock has never garnered enough votes among the NHL Broadcasters Association to win the Jack Adams. You understand why it’s happened – voters often look at the “which coach has reversed his team’s fortunes to the most shocking degree” formula (that’s the one Roy won on in 2013-14) – but sooner or later, we need to recognize the value of Babcock’s consistency as at least equal to the one-hit wonder coaches who may or may not have been the beneficiaries of extraordinary, unsustainable goaltending or another factor beyond their control.

If you look at the last 10 Adams winners, three (John Tortorella, Dan Bylsma and Paul MacLean) are currently looking to get back into the league after the expiration of their contracts with the teams that fired them; another three (Lindy Ruff, Alain Vigneault and Bruce Boudreau) were fired by the teams with which they received the honor; and another two (Dave Tippett and Ken Hitchcock) could feel the heat at the end of the current campaign. This isn’t to say any and all of them aren’t deserving. There are great arguments for different coaches every season. It is to say it’s wholly unfair to punish Babcock in the balloting because the Wings organization does an exemplary job of assimilating young talent into the NHL level. Read more

Goalies scoring goals: a fluky and fabulous history

Mike Smith scores

Reto Berra joined some heady company on Friday when he scored a goal by shooting the puck down the ice in an AHL game. It’s a rare occasion when a goalie gets credit for the other team scoring on their own net, but it’s even rarer for a goalie to actually score on a shot.

It’s such a tremendous freak occurrence that each instance is a footnote in the history books.

Fourteen goalies have received credit for scoring a goal in NHL history, but only seven of those goals were scored by a goalie who actually shot the puck down the ice.

In honour of Berra’s great goal (and even greater celebration), here’s a look at those goals.

Note: If they sound repetitive, they are. The goalie’s team gets a two-goal lead, the goalie stops a dump-in, the goalie throws it over everyone’s heads and hits the net at the other end.

And yet it never gets old.
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