KHL goaltender Michael Garnett’s New Year’s resolution is likely going to come on the back of an error he made on 2014’s last day: don’t misplay the puck on 150-plus foot shots.
This goal comes from Tuesday night’s KHL contests, as Garnett’s Traktor Chelyabinsk was downed 4-2 by Barys Astana. This goal also comes from a play that started all the way in the opposition end when Mike Lundin let a slapshot go from behind his own blueline with little more than 30 seconds left on the clock in the game’s first frame. Read more
Say what you will about an outstanding goal, but there are few things greater than a how-did-he-do-that save.
In 2014, the NHL spoiled us with some of the most incredible stops we’ve seen to date. All but one of the best saves from the calendar year come from the world’s best league, and rightfully so. Because when you’re facing the best shooters, the saves are made that much tougher.
And while the paddle save is frequent among the top 10 saves of the past year, there are a few glove stops mixed among them that will leave you shaking your head. If you like goal scoring, this may be nightmare fuel. Feast your eyes on the top 10 saves of 2014: Read more
Jeff O’Neill couldn’t believe his eyes. He’d just hopped on a stationary bike at the training facility of the Carolina Hurricanes and started peddling when he turned on the TV and flipped to CNN. The first thing he saw was two planes crashing into the World Trade Centre.
“I was like, ‘What the f—?’ ” O’Neill said. “I turned to (a teammate) on the bike beside me and said, ‘I just left a guy’s office who told me flying is the safest thing I can do.’ ”
O’Neill was witnessing the attack by al-Qaeda in New York City. Only minutes earlier, he’d left the office of a psychiatrist who’d bombarded him with a bevy of statistics that concluded air is the safest way to travel. The shrink had tried to cure O’Neill of his crippling fear of flying, which haunted him his entire career spanning 11 NHL seasons with the Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs. O’Neill’s fear of flying wouldn’t be cured on September 11, 2001. It still isn’t, and it’s an occupational terror shared by many other players. Read more
The World Junior Championship is an old entity, four decades old to be precise, and in some ways has been a more consistent barometer of the state of hockey across the world. While boycotts and amateur status debates drastically affected Olympics rosters over the years, the under-20s have routinely held the top competition for the best young players from major hockey-playing countries.
For this reason, we have grounds for some interesting comparisons among these countries, in particular the leagues that have shared their talent for the world juniors. Their players’ performance within those leagues and their subsequent WJC performance can tell us a lot in a larger sample. By looking historically, we can also add context to the story, including how political shifts like the division of the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia affected these programs. Read more
The Russian ruble and the price of oil have tanked, putting Russia’s KHL in crisis mode and casting doubt on the future of the league. Owners are crying poor, players say they’re not being paid and the league’s new commissioner is stuck trying to figure it all out.
That means hard times ahead for hockey in Russia, and while it’s hard to believe the KHL will outright fold, chances are the league’s oil baron owners will look to slash salary so they don’t lose their shirts paying for hockey. They may even have to contract the league.
Which brings us to the big question: what impact will the ruble crash have on players if the KHL is no longer a financial draw?
Former Canadian World Junior hero Jeff Glass is on his fifth team in six seasons in Russia and he has seen a lot of both the good and bad of the Kontinental Hockey League. But with the Russian ruble in a freefall and the league in disarray, this is the worst he’s ever seen it.
With boots on the ground, or at least skates on the ice, Glass puts a face to the stories that have been circulating throughout the hockey world about the KHL lately. Glass, who backstopped the 2005 Canadian junior team to a gold medal, but never played in the NHL, said he is thankful for the opportunity the KHL has given him to continue playing and make lucrative money, but it seems to him the whole thing is teetering on the brink of collapse. Read more
When Alex Radulov once again left the NHL for KHL, some said he just wasn’t suited to the North American style of play. If the thunderous hip check he received on Sunday is any indication, there’s no style of play in any league that’s going to let you dance around the ice without harm.
Now the captain of CSKA Moscow, Radulov got a rough ride from Andrei Mironov, a young defenseman from crosstown rival Dynamo Moscow: Read more
As a player always slotted as backup goalie, Jamie McLennan used to enter each season wondering how much work he’d get. During his NHL career that began in 1993 and ended in 2008, his games played in a season ranged from nine in 2006-07 with Calgary to 38 in 2000-01 with Minnesota. All told, McLennan appeared in 254 games (80-109-36 record and 13 shutouts).
“I’m very proud of it,” McLennan said. “I had some success and pitfalls. I am well aware it wasn’t Hall of Fame worthy, but I was a backup goalie who hung around for a long time.”
Today, as a hockey analyst with TSN and the NHL Network, McLennan is still viewed as a backup by some. With Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger the go-to guys at TSN, McLennan gets duty on That’s Hockey and That’s Hockey 2Nite on TV and co-hosts Leafs Lunch for two hours a day on TSN Radio. That’s on top of providing color commentary for 36 regionally broadcast games for the Ottawa Senators. Read more