Year in Review: Top 10 NHLers on Twitter in 2014

Joffrey Lupul and Jonathan Quick (Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

For this year’s top 10 NHL players on Twitter, we’re not limiting the field to the guys who are funniest, and/or who have a minimum of 100,000 followers. If you were an NHLer whose account was different and you used it well – even if you used it sparingly – you were in the mix. Here, in reverse order, are the results:

10. P.K. Subban, Montreal. The charismatic Canadiens star’s Tweets range anywhere from humorous to flirtatious (ask Canadian tennis sensation Eugenie Bouchard) to revealing him as a fan of other sports. If Twitter is there to give the public a window into interesting lives, Subban pulls back his drapes and lets everyone see what motivates, moves and interests him.

9. Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles. The Kings superstar isn’t a frequent Tweeter, but he’s come up with some stand-alone gems, including ones that can’t be reprinted in a family publication. Here’s a tamer Tweet that gives you an indication of Quick’s willingness to speak his mind:

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Florida’s Aleksander Barkov ends seven-round shootout with nifty move

Bryan Mcwilliam
Pittsburgh Penguins v Florida Panthers

Another day, another seven round shootout in the NHL.

But, seriously, the Florida Panthers took advantage of a short-handed Pittsburgh Penguins team – the mumps struck again sending Steve Downie, Brandon Sutter and Thomas Greiss back to Pittsburgh for testing – for the win on Monday night and it was thanks to some trickery from forward Aleksander Barkov.

Not sure if Marc-Andre Fleury was sleeping on this one, but this was a nifty-looking goal from the 19-year-old Finn, who was taken second overall in 2013.

The Panthers are one of the NHL’s biggest surprises so far this season, as they continue to play well owning a 6-2-2 record in their last ten games.

Does the NHL discipline Willie Mitchell for hitting Kris Letang with a helmet?

Josh Elliott
Florida Panthers Willie Mitchell

Tough NHLers like Willie Mitchell know how to solve their problems with their fists. So why did he grab Kris Letang‘s helmet and start hitting him with it on Saturday?

The incident happened late in the first period of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 3-1 win over Florida.

Mitchell grabbed Letang’s helmet off his head and smacked him with it as referees tried to separate the two in a melee near the Panthers net.
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Giroux at it again, bites Gudbranson’s jersey. Has he snapped?

Jared Clinton
Claude Giroux (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Claude Giroux has had a strange year, to say the least. There was the incident over the summer in Ottawa involving a cop, he wiped some snot on a linesman, and now he’s gone and bitten Florida Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson.

That’s right. During Thursday’s game against the Panthers, Giroux was skating alongside the massive blueliner, turned to face him, bit his jersey, then tugged at it with his teeth. The whole thing is very strange to see: Read more

Panthers co-owner: “I’m not putting a gun to (anyone’s) head”

Ken Campbell
Florida Panthers (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

You have to give the Florida Panthers credit for having chutzpah. They’re in the process of convincing the politicians in their city that a hockey team few people watch or care about is the driving force behind all the business the arena creates and that it would be a white elephant without them there. They’re also adamant that a team that has only once in 16 years turned a profit can do so if only it gets help with its arena lease.

And they might just be successful in doing it. Read more

The NHL shootout: the part of the game practice and coaching can’t solve

Leafs goalie James Reimer and Sabres center Cody Hodgson (Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Flyers’ 2-1 shootout loss to Florida Thursday marked their fifth loss in as many shootouts this season. With even one or two wins in those five games, Philly would be within sniffing distance of a wild card berth and not, as they currently are, closer in the standings to the last-place Carolina Hurricanes. And when veteran center Vincent Lecavalier was asked after the game whether the Flyers practiced the shootout enough, his answer likely didn’t make beleaguered head coach Craig Berube very happy.

“Well, obviously not,” said Lecavalier, who was one of the Flyers’ shooters. “I mean, maybe we could do more. They’re obviously very important points that you’re kind of leaving on the table. We have been practicing, but we probably could do more.”

Berube maintained the Flyers do practice enough, but the truth is, since it was first implemented in 2005, the shootout has been a Bermuda Triangle of expectations and logic. And the more you think about the so-called solution for a team’s shootout woes, the sillier it is. I mean, players have to practice scoring more? These men are almost universally dominant scorers at lower levels of the game and who think of different ways to score constantly, so what exactly would another 20 minutes or a half-hour after practice do for them, when it’s all but impossible to replicate the game conditions (including thousands of screaming fans potentially attempting to intimidate them) of an actual shootout? Read more

Top 10 Vezina candidates of 2014-15: Rinne rules

Pekka Rinne (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Goaltending can make or break a team’s season. Just ask the Edmonton Oilers, who for years have looked promising but have been unable to secure a goaltender to give them the big save they need.

You won’t find either Oilers goaltender, Ben Scrivens or Viktor Fasth, on this list of the top 10 Vezina candidates. Nor will you find Michael Hutchinson, who currently leads the league in save percentage and is second in goals-against average. The reason being Hutchinson just hasn’t had the workload, and including his numbers also put goaltenders like Colorado’s Calvin Pickard and injured St. Louis netminder Brian Elliott into the conversation.

Instead, many familiar faces are among the contenders, though not a single one has won the Vezina in their career. Read more

Hilarious, gigantic Mrs. Claus helps Panthers brighten kids’ spirits at children’s hospital

Jared Clinton
Panthers Santa Claus featured

With Christmas fast approaching, Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and one giant, bearded elf stopped by Florida’s Chris Evert Children’s Hospital to help brighten the holidays for a few sick children.

We haven’t brushed up on our holiday reading yet, but we’re not sure that Mrs. Claus was ever 6-foot-6 with size 13 feet. But we could be wrong. Take a look as a few Panthers players stop by the hospital to lift spirits: Read more