Report: veteran goalie Tomas Vokoun retiring after 15 NHL seasons

Tomas Vokoun (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

According to a report from a Czech publication Sunday, veteran NHL goalie Tomas Vokoun, who won 300 regular-season games over 15 seasons with five teams, is retiring at age 38.

“I think I can be proud of the career I had,” Vokoun told reporter Zdenek Janda, referring to accomplishments that included a 300-288-78 record, appearances in two all-star games and gold medals representing the Czech Republic at IIHF world championships in 2005 and 2010, as well as an Olympic bronze medal in 2006 and a bronze at the 2004 World Cup. Read more

From Comeau to Hemsky, cost per point helps show the most (and least) effective off-season signings

Ales Hemsky featured

When the Dallas inked Ales Hemsky to play alongside the newly acquired Jason Spezza it was heralded as a tremendous signing. So far, however, the Stars aren’t getting their money’s worth.

Following Saturday night’s game against the Devils, Hemsky has only registered eight points in 26 games and is on pace for the lowest full season point total of his career. Suffice to say, Hemsky is far short of where the Stars GM Jim Nill had likely hoped he’d see the winger’s point total. At a salary cap hit of $4 million for the next three seasons, Dallas isn’t getting the bang for their buck as they’re on pace to pay Hemsky nearly $170,000 for every point he’s on pace to score this season.

But it’s not just Hemsky, as several stars are making GMs second-guess some off-season signings. On the other hand, there are several who are far exceeding their salary expectations. Read more

As Thornton passes Beliveau, five milestones to watch for this season

Roberto Luongo (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

On Thursday night, with two assists, Joe Thornton passed Jean Beliveau on the all-time scoring list. His 1220 points are one more than the legendary Beliveau, and bump ‘Jumbo’ inside the top-40.

While passing an all-time great is an incredible feat, there are several other NHLers who are well on their way to reaching some outstanding milestones this season. Below you can find the top-5 milestones that can be hit by season’s end.

Honorable mention goes to Scott Gomez, who is seven games from 1000 played in his career, Carey Price, who sits six wins from 200, and Henrik Sedin, who is a mere 32 points from reaching the 900-point plateau. Read more

Aaron Ekblad doing what few defensemen have ever done at age 18. Not even Bobby Orr

Matt Larkin
Aaron Ekblad is on pace for the second most points ever by a D-man who started a season 18 years old. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

Somewhere amidst all the well-deserved Filip Forsberg and Johnny Hockey hype, Aaron Ekblad stealthily opened the door to the Calder Trophy race and slipped inside relatively unnoticed.

No more. The No. 1 overall pick has quickly become a revelation on the Florida Panthers’ blueline. He’s playing more than 20 minutes per game. He has seven points more than the next-closest rookie defenseman. He has seven points in his last five games, and he just won the NHL’s third star of the week.

Those are some impressive feats, but they’re not staggeringly surprising. Ekblad was the 2014 draft’s top pick for a reason. He was the second player to earn exceptional status in the Ontario League after John Tavares for a reason. He was a dominant man-child with the Barrie Colts, consistently considered more NHL-ready than your average teenage defenseman.

But none of that information can properly do justice to what Ekblad’s done through his first 26 NHL games. His production isn’t just great. It’s historic so far.

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A slapshot to the mouth isn’t enough to end Blues captain David Backes’ night

Adam Proteau
David Backes (Mark Buckner/NHLI via Getty Images)

St. Louis Blues captain David Backes is one of the game’s more rugged players, but wears a visor to protect his eyes. Unfortunately for the veteran center, his visor couldn’t protect him from taking a slapshot to the mouth Monday night against Florida. But a serious mouth injury wasn’t enough to keep him from taking the rest of the night off.

Backes was in front of the Panthers’ net midway through the first period attempting to redirect a shot from teammate T.J. Oshie, but it changed direction after hitting Florida defenseman Dmitry Kulikov and rose up underneath Backes’ visor before striking his mouth. The 30-year-old center immediately left the ice holding his mouth and headed for the dressing room: Read more

Bure and Ovechkin: 702 games, three goals apart. Who’s better?

Alexander Ovechkin equalled Pavel Bure's career games played last weekend, and their numbers are remarkably similar. (Getty Images)

Don’t you love it when a perfect comparison delivers itself to you on a plate?

Credit to a Reddit user named ‘Nuppa Nuppa’ for pointing this out. Alex Ovechkin played his 702nd career game this past Saturday in Toronto. In doing so, he equalled Pavel Bure’s total. So arguably the two greatest pure goal scorers of the last 25 years sat at precisely the same sample size before Ovie reached 703 games Tuesday. Lo and behold, they were just three goals apart.

Bure: 702 games, 437 goals, 779 points
Ovechkin: 702 games, 434 goals, 835 points

Those numbers leap off the page, get down on their knees and beg us to ask: who is better? ‘The Russian Rocket’ or ‘Alexander the GR8′?

Let’s break it down.

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Rumor Roundup: Leafs’ Kadri, Wings’ Kindl, and Panthers’ Boyes could all be on the move

Nazem Kadri

The Toronto Maple Leafs have improved since suffering lopsided back-to-back losses against Buffalo and Nashville, finishing November by winning three of four games. While that’s silenced most of their critics, it hasn’t keep them out of the rumor mill.

On Monday, Darren Dreger told TSN 1050 he will be surprised if center Nazem Kadri is still with the Leafs by the trade deadline. Dreger feels Kadri hasn’t reached the level of consistency GM Dave Nonis expects of him.

The young center is slated to become a restricted free agent in July. His previous contract talks dragged on into training camp before a deal was reached. Read more

Florida Panthers Spanish goal calls are back and they’re better than ever

Jared Clinton
Nick Bjugstad Florida Panthers featured

When Nick Bjugstad scored for the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night, everyone was thinking it: that goal was great, but I wish there were an over-the-top Spanish goal call for it.

Well, search no more. ESPN Desportes Arley Londono leant his voice to yet another Panthers broadcast and his call of Bjugstad’s early goal – one that would stand as the game-winner – was absolutely incredible: Read more