Slovakian player throws what may be the greatest hip check of all-time

Jared Clinton
Hip Check Featured

While a nice, clean, open ice hit is always great to see, there’s something that much more thrilling about a beautiful hip check.

That’s why this hit, thrown in the Slovakian Extraliga by Peter Hrasko, is equal parts devastating and a joy to watch. Hrasko, a defenseman for the HKM Zvolen Knights, lines up HC Kosice Steelers forward Adam Lapsansky, sending the big forward airborne: Read more

Pat Quinn and me: Remembering a legend

Pat Quinn (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

When I think of Pat Quinn, I harken back to the dark days of February, 1999. Quinn was just months into his tenure as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs and I was equally green as the Maple Leafs beat reporter with The Toronto Star covering him.

I had found out not long before that my father was dying of cancer. Word somehow got to Quinn and one day during a post-practice scrum when I think he could see I was smiling on the outside and dying on the inside and was being cajoled by my colleagues, he pulled me into him with his big right arm and held me close for just a second. He never mentioned a word of it ever again, and neither did I. Read more

Iconic Russian coach Viktor Tikhonov dies at age 84

Adam Proteau
Viktor Tikhonov (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Viktor Tikhonov, the iron-willed coach who helmed the Soviet Union’s best hockey teams during the height of the Cold War’s peak, died in a Moscow hospital Monday. For better and worse, the 84-year-old was one of the most influential figures in Russian hockey history, winning three Olympic gold medals, eight IIHF World Championship gold medals, 13 consecutive Soviet titles as head coach of CSKA Moscow, and one Canada Cup. Tikhonov had been admitted to hospital suddenly in late October, and was reported to have had lost the ability to “move independently”. Tikhonov is predeceased by his son, Vasily, who died at age 55 in 2013. His grandson, also named Viktor Tikhonov, played in the NHL with Phoenix in 2008-09 and currently plays in the Russian-based Kontinental League.

Born in 1930, Tikhonov first gained prominence on the Russian hockey scene playing for the Air Force’s team and Moscow Dynamo; he scored 35 goals in 296 games during a 15-year career in the Soviet Elite League, but it wasn’t until he retired and moved behind the bench that Tikhonov truly made a name for himself. Read more

David Aslin goes between the legs to embarrass goaltender

Jared Clinton
AslinGoal

If you’ve never heard of David Aslin, you’ll remember his name after seeing this ridiculous between the legs goal.

Thing is, Aslin, a 25-year-old winger for the Swedish League’s Leksands IF, probably wasn’t too well known around Leksand before a trade sent him there from his former Vaxjo Lakers. But after going top shelf, between the legs on Lulea’s Joakim Lundstom, you have to think he’s going to be a fan favorite awfully quickly: Read more

In honor of THN’s new Fighting Issue, check out this insane brawl from 2006

Jared Clinton
Japan/China Brawl

With THN’s Fighting Issue hitting newsstands this week, it’s a good time to look back on one of the craziest on-ice brawls you will ever see.

Who knew that when it comes to hockey, Japan and China are rivals the likes of Canada and Russia.

This video, which comes from a user on video sharing site LiveLeak, shows an all out brawl between two teams – one reportedly from China and the other from Japan. There’s bodies flying during this all-out brawl:

(WARNING: Some language is not suitable for children) Read more

Maple Leaf prospect Willie Nylander on pace to destroy Swedish League record books at 18

William Nylander (Hakan Nordstrom/Modo Hockey)

William ‘Willie’ Nylander was a polarizing draft choice for the Toronto Maple Leafs at No. 8 overall last June. Some, myself included, praised the pick because of Nylander’s high ceiling. Others slammed the Leafs for grabbing King Joffrey on skates, a slick-stickhandling boy-man whose body would not hold up the NHL level. That latter group likely wanted a Nick Ritchie type at No. 8.

So far, score one for the Nylander backers.

Yes, the fact he returned to the Swedish League to re-sign with Modo suggested he was far from NHL-ready. He flashed skill but didn’t show enough strength to play for the Leafs, and they didn’t want to tempt themselves by keeping him with the American League’s Marlies, from which they could easily rush him to the big club. But he’s been nothing short of spectacular in the SHL, where his primary goal was to bulk up. A tweet from Domenic Galamini suggested Nylander’s 14 points through 10 games as an 18-year-old put him in elite company. Digging through the SHL’s complete records reveals that Nylander averages more points per game than anyone in Swedish League history during an age-18 season. He’s at 1.4, and the next closest finished at 1.00, meaning he’ll challenge for the record even if he regresses.

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Reported “dramatic changes” to World Cup of Hockey would be a breath of fresh air – on one condition

Adam Proteau
Team Canada at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey (Getty Images)

For years now, many who follow the NHL have expected the league to announce the return of the World Cup of Hockey. That’s on the verge of being made official, but what nobody was quite prepared for was the stunning Sportsnet report concerning “dramatic changes” made to the structure of the off-season, league-controlled tournament.

According to the report, the NHL is considering a format that would see the six top hockey nations (Canada, the United States, Sweden, Russia, Finland and the Czech Republic) take part – but in a new twist, two “all-star” teams would join the competition: one squad would be comprised of the best players from countries other than the aforementioned six nations: Slovakia (who could offer Zdeno Chara), Slovenia (Anze Kopitar), Switzerland (Nino Niederreiter), and Germany (Christian Ehrhoff, Dennis Seidenberg), among others. The composition of the second team has yet to be determined, but one of the concepts being bandied about is taking all of the game’s best young players and giving them the same jersey to create a “Generation: Next”-type lineup.

As soon as the news broke, the reaction was less than universally positive. But you know what? I think the new format would be a terrific breath of fresh air – that is, so long as the return of the World Cup doesn’t mean the end of NHL participation in the Olympics. Read more

NHL says a decision ‘should be made quickly’ on 2018 Olympics

Matt Larkin
The NHL and its owners are openly skeptical about sending players to South Korea in 2018. (Getty Images)

Just when Michael Corleone thought he was out, they pulled him back in. And every time it seems the NHL’s Olympic adventure will die – no, seriously, this time we’re never going back – the twinkle returns to the league’s collective eye.

The league currently has no arrangement to participate in a sixth straight Winter Games, which shifts to South Korea for 2018, and no short-term timetable to make a decision. At a sport management conference Monday, NHL deputy commissioner Billy Daly told Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston a decision “should be made quickly,” but that the league needs more information from the Olympic organizing committee. Daly hopes to learn soon “where hockey fits in the pecking order.”

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