Miracle on Manchester to a silent Maple Leaf Square, the five greatest NHL comebacks

Toronto Maple Leafs Fans Watching Stanley Cup Game At Tailgate Party In Toronto

In the Swedish third league on Wednesday, one of the most incredible comebacks in hockey history happened.

Down 3-0 in the third period, IFK Arboga scored with just under 12 minutes left in the third period. Then they scored again 20 seconds later. And again nine seconds after that. And once more 30 seconds following their third goal. In less than two minutes, Arboga had erased a three-goal deficit to Grastorps, and held on for a 4-3 victory.

While there are no four-goals-in-two-minutes comebacks in NHL history, these are the five best. Read more

Blizzards and boxing: postponed games throughout the NHL’s history

SnowBuffalo

Inclement weather has led to the cancellation of the Buffalo Sabres home contest against the New York Rangers on Friday, turning a four game NHL slate into three. It’s not the first postponement the NHL has had, and it certainly won’t be the last.

With over five feet of snow falling earlier this week, it took few by surprise that Friday’s game was called off and rescheduled for Feb. 20. Even the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, who wouldn’t have played at home until Sunday, will be taking their game to Detroit. Whether it be a terrible tragedy or something as trivial as a boxing match, postponements have halted league play several times. Read more

Ranking the NHL’s fan bases, from 1 to 30

Matt Larkin
Leafs fans top our rankings because they keep paying absurd amounts of money to support their team despite its struggles. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

What constitutes true fanhood? The easy explanation is the eye and ear test. The loudest, most decked-out supporters come across as diehard fans – like those of the big, bad Boston Bruins.

To THN, however, fanhood is about faith above all else. It’s not just supporting your team when the going is easy. What about standing behind your team when the losses pile up and paying to watch it lose when it costs you an arm and a leg? The Bruins fill the TD Garden, but the last time they missed the playoffs – twice in the season-and-a-half following the Joe Thornton trade – they ranked near the bottom in attendance. On the other end, look at a team like Edmonton. Year after year, the Oilers struggle to progress in their “rebuild,” yet the fans keep coming, selling out Rexall Place and paying top dollar to watch a flailing operation.

It’s easy to make fun of fan bases that blindly support their struggling franchises, but isn’t that what true fanhood is, unconditional love? We set out to create a fan ranking system that rewards such a quality. The formula applies the past five completed NHL seasons. The final rankings were an aggregate score over each category. Perfect science my algorithm ain’t, but we believe we’ve concocted an objective system. We published the results in our Nov. 24 Fan Issue of THN.

The following legend breaks down the fan ranking criteria:

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Arturs Irbe returns at 47, cracks our list of top 10 Euro/NHL goalies of all-time

Jason Kay
Dominik Hasek and Arturs Irbe from the 2002 Stanley Cup final (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

Artrurs Irbe’s surprise appearance on the Sabres’ bench as their emergency goalie on Tuesday brought to mind his colorful NHL career, his adventurous puckhandling skills and that brilliant run he had in the 2002 playoffs for Carolina.

Based on that Cinderella performance, plus some of the other upsets he anchored as the backstop in San Jose, the now 47-year-old goalie coach for Buffalo sneaks onto our list of the NHL’s top 10 European goalies of all-time.

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Rocco Grimaldi double dips, plays in AHL, NHL in the same day

Jared Clinton
Rocco Grimaldi

In the span of 11 hours, Florida Panthers winger Rocco Grimaldi played in two games in different leagues, covered 1,350 miles on a three-hour flight, crossed over an entire time zone, and suited up for his fifth career NHL game. Not a bad Tuesday for the 21-year-old prospect.

It all began at 10:30 a.m. (8:30 PST) in San Antonio as the Rampage, Florida’s American League affiliate, hosted the Oklahoma City Barons for their fifth annual Cool School Day. The game, which begins early and serves to host kids from around the region, would be the saving grace for the Panthers and allow Grimaldi to take part in both an AHL and NHL game in the same day. Read more

Hockey’s 10 richest contracts, in honor of Giancarlo Stanton’s monster MLB deal

Shea Weber

On Monday, Major League Baseball’s Giancarlo Stanton signed the richest contract in North American sports history. At 13-years and $325 million, the Miami Marlins outfielder stands to make more money than the average Canadian or American could earn in one hundred lifetimes.

In fact, here’s how it breaks down. Those earning the average 2014 income in Canada (USD$42,719) and USA ($51,371) would have to spend 7,608 and 6,327 years in the workforce, respectively, in order to match Stanton’s monster deal. Something tells me that might be unattainable.

There was a time – around the formation of the World Hockey Association – when Bobby Hull and the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets made waves with a $1 million dollar signing bonus. And in 1998-99, Sergei Fedorov made $14.5 million, the most ever at the time, which was more than the entire Nashville Predators roster made – combined. The days of both these contracts are long gone. These are the most lucrative contracts in the history of the NHL, all coming during the salary cap era. Read more

Top five teams getting points from players making $1M or less

Jonathan Drouin, Johnny Gaudreau and Jason Garrison

In a salary capped NHL where every dollar spent on a superstar is one not spent on roster depth, it can be easy not to notice the rookies and journeymen making $1 million or less at the bottom of the pay scale. But those players can play a crucial role in their team’s success, supplying the offense of a much more expensive player while making pennies on the dollar.

Every general manager is working with the same salary range, but the savvy ones have found ways to acquire cheap secondary scorers who are more than worth their annual salary.

Oftentimes these bargains take the form of phenomenal rookies on entry-level deals, but other times they’re former stars taking a one-year deal to prove their worth, or career journeymen who are steady but unspectacular.

A look at the top teams getting points from their bargain players shows it’s not just the rebuilding teams who are buying points on a budget.

And in most cases, one spectacular scorer on an entry-level deal is not enough to elevate his team onto this list. For instance, Vladimir Tarasenko has 10 goals and 21 points for the St. Louis Blues on a contract that pays him $900,000 in base salary, but there are no other significant players on entry-level deals playing with him. The next-highest scorer on his team making six figures is Joakim Lindstrom and his three goals.

Los Angeles is buoyed by Tyler Toffoli (eight goals, 18 points on a $685,000 salary) and Tanner Pearson (seven goals, 10 points and $775,500 this year), along with million-dollar-man Jake Muzzin and his one goal and seven points. But the Kings haven’t used many young players beyond those three, and so they don’t have the production to crack the top five.

Here’s a look at the five teams getting the most point production out of their players making $1 million or less in salary this year.

Note that this is based on what players are making this year – not on their cap hits, which can be much higher than $1 million for entry-level players with bonuses in their contracts.
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Five NHLers worth 2015 Hall of Fame consideration

Josh Elliott
Chris Osgood and Nicklas Lidstrom

The 2014 Hall of Fame class is now in the books, with Mike Modano, Peter Forsberg, Dominik Hasek and Rob Blake filling out the four player slots this year. So now it’s time to look ahead to 2015, and who might receive one of hockey’s highest honours next November.

It’s a rather light class of first-year eligible players, but Detroit Red Wings legend Nicklas Lidstrom is an easy slam dunk first-ballot choice. No one will argue against the four-time Stanley Cup winner’s seven Norris trophies, his Conn Smythe Trophy or his Olympic gold medal.

Ditto for Lidstrom’s former teammate, Sergei Fedorov, who won three Stanley Cups in Detroit and tore up the league in an unforgettable 1994 season, winning the Hart, Pearson and Selke trophies. Fedorov would win another Selke in 1996, and still holds the record for most goals and points scored in the NHL by a Russian-born player.

But the pool of eligible players drops off considerably after Lidstrom and Fedorov, meaning some who have been overlooked in past years might have a shot at cracking the Hall’s four-player limit in 2015.

Here are some candidates who could make noise in the 2015 discussion.
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