How a post-war family squabble ruined the Rangers

Stan Fischler
Lynn Patrick (Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

If the supreme boss of an NHL team tells his son – who had been the team’s leading scorer – he’s no longer good enough to make the club, how could the son possibly outwit his dad and get back on the squad?

This curious generational battle – won by the son – involved one of the NHL’s foremost powerbrokers, New York Rangers GM-president Lester ‘The Silver Fox’ Patrick, who demanded his oldest son, Lynn, a Hall of Fame left winger, not return to the Blueshirts lineup in October 1945 at the age of 33. Read more

Even at age 80, Don Cherry hasn’t soured on hockey – and fans still love him

Ryan Kennedy
Don Cherry (Adam d’Oliveira photography)

When super draft prospect Connor McDavid broke his hand in a fight in November, the number of hot takes on the matter scorched the media landscape. Everyone was expected to weigh in and NHL players were not immune.

Boston Bruins power forward Milan Lucic was one of them and, given his appetite for truculence, his response was no surprise.

“You definitely respect the fact he’s willing to step up for himself,” Lucic said. “On another point, not contradicting or going against what Don Cherry was saying, it’s good to see that a player of his caliber has that fire.” Read more

Slava Fetisov is the most interesting – and frustrating – man in hockey today

Viacheslav Fetisov (Sony Pictures Classics)

The question is asked and the telephone line goes quiet. Viacheslav ‘Slava’ Fetisov doesn’t believe in speaking ill of the dead. Even when that dead person once arranged to have him handcuffed to a car battery in Kiev. Even when that dead person made his rather charmed life miserable, when he drove Fetisov out of the game for a time and when he almost derailed his dream of playing in the NHL.

But mores are mores, and Fetisov isn’t about to violate them. Read more

Would an NHL team in Las Vegas be a good gamble?

Stu Hackel
Render of proposed Las Vegas arena (MGM Resorts International)

Is a Vegas wedding in the NHL’s future? Las Vegas brands itself as the live entertainment capital of the world, and the NHL believes its games provide best live sporting attraction in the world. It seems like a natural fit. But there are as many reasons to be skeptical as there are to believe this would be a long and happy marriage.

In early December, after months of media speculation, the NHL’s board of governors gave would-be franchise owner Bill Foley permission to conduct a season ticket drive in Las Vegas to help determine that city’s level of interest. Foley is chairman of mortgage giant Fidelity National Financial, and he has been in discussions with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman for some months about acquiring a team for the internationally renowned resort city. Read more

Why will Red Wings coach Mike Babcock soon be a $4-million man? Here’s why

Ken Campbell
Mike Babcock (Harry How/Getty Images)

At some point in 2015, Mike Babcock will become the highest paid coach in the NHL. His salary will start with a four, perhaps even a five. Whether it’s with Detroit or somewhere else, Babcock will set a new salary standard for coaches.

And if it’s true that a high tide raises all ships, other coaches around the league should be grateful. We asked a couple of them exactly why Babcock is worth at least $4 million a year and here’s what we were told. Read more

What do hockey cards mean to players? Sometimes a lot, sometimes nothing

Sal Barry
Hockey Card Stories

For many of us, buying hockey cards was a celebrated part of our childhood, from ripping open packs of new cards each year to trading doubles with classmates.

In Hockey Card Stories, Sportsnet Central anchor Ken Reid revisits his own childhood, picking some of his favorite cards from his youth and asking 59 former NHL players what their pieces of cardboard means to them.

His choice of subjects is varied, from legends to bit players. Read more

What’s the next dimension of analytics? Former NHL goalie Steve Valiquette knows

Ken Campbell
Steve Valiquette (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

One night, Steve Valiquette was removing his gear in the dressing room after one of his many games as a backup in the NHL. He remembers the coach of the team approaching one of his teammates and praising the player for having such a great game because he recorded nine shots on goal. Valiquette couldn’t believe what he was hearing, but he knew what he had seen.

“I was on the bench that night and I said to myself, ‘Are you kidding me? He just played catch with goalie from 75 feet,’ ” Valiquette said. “ ‘He should be reprimanded, not applauded for that game.’ ” Read more

In the AHL, friends are also enemies in battle to reach the NHL

The Hockey News
Tommy Cross (Susanna Esina)

By Lauren Beaven

Pro hockey is all about winning, but getting to the NHL and earning the riches that come with it requires a different type of competition – one in which teammates are also rivals.

In minor-pro leagues, the teammates that players train with, travel with, win with and lose with are the same ones they compete with to achieve their NHL dreams. It’s a psychological conundrum all non-NHL players face but most acutely in the AHL. Read more