Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau setting the hockey world on fire. But what fuels him?

Ryan Kennedy
Johnny Gaudreau (Abelimages/Getty Images)

From the Hollydell Arena he runs in New Jersey, Guy Gaudreau can practically see the hockey-mad city of Philadelphia, though in the small town of Carney’s Point, hockey has historically taken a backseat to the other major American sports. The most famous person to come out of the town is actor Bruce Willis, but there’s a new name on the scene, and it happens to be Gaudreau’s son John.

Yes, in Carney’s Point, one of the most dynamic and unlikely hockey talents in generations is simply known to friends and family as ‘John,’ once a tyke whose dad put Skittles on the ice for him and his younger brother to skate toward while Guy was coaching 16-year-olds.

“It entertained them for the hour,” Guy said. “They were really wired up by the time they were done.”

But outside the confines of Riverside South Jersey, that tiny tyke is Calgary Flames right winger Johnny Gaudreau, a.k.a. ‘Johnny Hockey,’ a prospect whose legend grew so fast that the Flames literally had a private jet pick him up after his college career was finished so he and Boston College linemate Bill Arnold could be whisked away to join the NHL as soon as possible.

And while Arnold is still learning the pro game one season later in the minors, Gaudreau is one of the top-scoring rookies in the NHL – not to mention one of the smallest in recent memory. When Calgary drafted Gaudreau in the fourth round in 2011 out of the USHL, the youngster was listed at 5-foot-6 and 137 pounds. He’s not a whole lot bigger now, but that hasn’t stopped him from putting together one of the most impressive pre-NHL careers around and silencing the many doubters he had. Read more

Meet the “very, very smart” man who will win this year’s Calder Trophy

Ken Campbell
Filip Forsberg (John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

At Christmastime, we North Americans have our egg nog. Nordic countries have their glogg (pronounced “gloog,” with a heavy accent on the ‘oo’). You could say that in Sweden they love to glug their glogg, a sweet, high-octane mulled wine that is served warm so as to raise the temperature of the mouth and stomach, thereby pushing the blood to the skin to create an all-round glow, warming the body and the soul from the inside out. Swedes like to spend all Christmas Day sitting around drinking glogg and watching Donald Duck cartoons.

Anyway, it was only a couple sleeps before Christmas and the Presidents’ Trophy-contending Nashville Predators found themselves with a rare day off. Now, Filip Forsberg and Mattias Ekholm could have spent their off-day concocting a brew of wine, brandy, cardamom, orange peels and cinnamon sticks themselves. Yeah, that’s what a couple of guys in their 20s could have done. But that wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun as taking a road trip to Ikea to pick up some glogg themselves.

The only problem is Nashville got itself an NHL team 16 years ago, but sadly still has no Ikea store. Atlanta, on the other hand, lost its team, but can take solace in the fact its residents can buy reasonably priced particle board furniture with names like ‘Kottebo’ and ‘Riffla’ that they have to assemble themselves to their hearts’ content. So it was on this December day when Forsberg and Ekholm decided to jump into Ekholm’s 2015 Audi SQ5 SUV and take the I-24 past Chattanooga to the I-75 into Atlanta, which accounts for a drive of about three-and-a-half hours. Then they got their brew and a little taste of home at the local Ikea outlet and promptly turned around and drove back. Read more

For New York Islanders, it’s just about closing time in Nassau

Stu Hackel
Barclays Center (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

In the months remaining before the NHL’s most reviled arena gives way to what will be its most unusual, the Islanders continue to celebrate their 43 years at Nassau Coliseum. With on-ice ceremonies featuring alumni greats, promotional giveaways, jersey revivals and a “Tradition on Ice” commemorative logo on their jerseys and at center ice, the club has been honoring its four consecutive Stanley Cup championships and today’s young rising stars.

The Islanders are bound for Brooklyn – New York City’s largest borough – and the Barclays Center next season. That’s 25 miles west of their current locale but a light year away from their suburban enclave in the Nassau County town of Hempstead. That’s where politicians, voters and team executives couldn’t agree on a plan to revive the old barn and keep the franchise in place.

Fans were relieved the team wasn’t headed far away, but hearing the news still shocked many in Isles country, whose distaste for the city parallels their antipathy toward the rival Rangers. The club’s traditions and identity were formed at the Coliseum, which still has some of the best sightlines in the league and retains an intimacy modern arenas lack. “One of the things great about the Coliseum was we never got too banged up,” said former Islanders all-star winger Clark Gillies. Read more

From Eva Mendes to Brian Burke, trade deadline day is a wacky ride at TSN

The Hockey News
James Duthie (TSN/Bell Media)

By Jamie Duthie

The phone rings at 3:45 a.m. Sorry pings, not rings (it is March 9, 2004, and I have an old-school Blackberry). You know those sudden jolting wake-ups that interrupt the sweetest, deepest of dreams? One second you’re rubbing sunscreen on Eva Mendes’ back while she lies in the sand…of the bunker beside 18 at Augusta where you just won your third Green Jacket…wearing a mask and flippers for the entire final round (I have no idea)…and PING! PING! PING!

Suddenly Eva’s gone and you jump up in your bed and have no idea where you are or why it sounds like there are five fire trucks in your room.

I finally grasp that it is my phone and not Ladders 65-68 driving under the bed. PING! PING! PING!

“Wha…Uhh…Helloooo?

“James, it’s Mark.”

Mark? Mark who? Mark Ward or Mark Tadiello, my two best friends from high school? Mark Messier? Mark’s Work Warehouse saying my polar fleece socks are in? Mark Wahlberg? (I’m still groggy.)

“Wha…what time is it?”

“It’s 3:45. You need to get in right now.” (Oh. Mark Milliere. My boss.) “It’s been a crazy night. Todd Bertuzzi badly injured Steve Moore. We’re going on early.”

“How early?”

“As soon as you get here.” Read more

Picking winners of five blockbuster trades from the past 25 years

Ray Bourque (Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

25 YEARS AGO
RANGERS ACQUIRE: Mike Gartner
NORTH STARS ACQUIRE: Ulf Dahlen; 1990 4th-rounder (Cal McCowan); 1991 4th-rounder (Alexei Zhitnik)

THE BREAKDOWN: After a decade in Washington, Gartner hadn’t played a full season with the North Stars before being traded on deadline day 1990 for a package that included then-23-year-old Dahlen and two draft picks – the better of which (Zhitnik) was flipped to L.A. for two years of Todd Elik. Dahlen blossomed, scoring 92 goals in three seasons. But Gartner peeled off three straight seasons of at least 40 goals, playing a big role in two playoff runs before he was dealt to Toronto for Glenn Anderson a few months before the Blueshirts’ 1994 Cup win.

LONG-TERM WINNER: RANGERS Read more

Trade Eric Staal? GM Ron Francis knows all about big swaps

Ron Francis (B Bennett/Getty Images)

Ron Francis ponders the question before offering a “safe” answer.

“Did the Hartford Whalers make a mistake trading you March 4, 1991?”

The correct answer is a resounding, “Yes!” Of course it was a mistake trading Francis along with defensemen Ulf Samuelsson and Grant Jennings to the Pittsburgh Penguins for forwards John Cullen and Jeff Parker and defenseman Zarley Zalapski. The Penguins immediately went on a two Stanley Cup run. Read more

Ovechkin & Green for Doughty & Carter? A trade that big happened almost 40 years ago

Jason Kay
Alex Ovechkin and Drew Doughty (Noah Graham/Getty Images)

The Wayne Gretzky shocker to L.A. will always be hockey’s pre-eminent swap. It is, after all, known simply as “The Trade.”

That said, the first seismic, earth-shattering, mind-blowing blockbuster to register on my Richter scale happened more than a decade earlier, on Nov. 7, 1975, when the Rangers sent Jean Ratelle, Brad Park and Joe Zanussi to Boston for Phil Esposito and Carol Vadnais. To borrow a line from Greg Kihn, they just don’t write ’em like that anymore. Read more

Read it one word at a time: Here’s your Trade Deadline Cliche Bingo Card

Adam Proteau
Jay Bouwmeester (Michael Martin/NHL)

It’s time for the NHL trade deadline, which means it’s time for a torrent of clichés from players and team brass. So this year, why not have some fun with it? Print out this handy NHL Trade Deadline Cliché Bingo Card and by the time March 2 rolls around, it shouldn’t take you long to complete it – especially if you watch one of the Jedi masters of cliché, such as Blues defenseman and amateur verbal anesthesiologist Jay Bouwmeester, go to work in front of a microphone: Read more