Ever since Arizona State announced that its successful ACHA club team would be making the leap to Division 1 hockey, coach Greg Powers has been fighting a war against his inbox. See, every time the Sun Devils bench boss finishes reading an email, five or six more pop up. Powers has received about 600 emails in the past day from potential recruits, family advisors (ie agents) and other ACHA coaches who want to know how his school did it.
“We expected it was going to be big news,” Powers said. “I’ve been pushing Arizona State as the most unique college hockey experience in the country for four years.”
Arizona State has national name recognition thanks to it affiliation in other sports with the Pac-12 conference, it’s a huge school (80,000 students) and it has that great Southwestern climate to boast. The Sun Devils also had a nice model in Penn State, a similar school (minus the weather) that went from the ACHA to Division 1 just a few years ago and is already thriving in the newly-formed Big Ten conference.
“Penn State is awesome,” Powers said. “Their blueprint for success has worked. It’s real, you can do it. We did it.”
In fact, when the Nittany Lions were in their transition season, they hosted Powers’ Arizona State team and the Sun Devils came away with a win. The victory put the school on the map and that’s when the rumblings began in the greater Phoenix area.
So if other club-level schools are calling Powers, we may not be done yet with college expansion in the near future. But which schools would bring the most buzz with them? Here’s a top 10 based on national prominence, geographical uniqueness (so if your state already has a team, too bad) and conference links, if any. As a bonus, I’ve included young local players from each area.
Los Angeles Kings blueliner Matt Greene is the physical embodiment of the term stay-at-home defenseman. He’s comfortable on the blueline, using his big frame for a well-timed hit or his hands for a poke-check here and there.
That’s why it’s hilarious to watch the lumbering 6-foot-3 Greene score on a beautiful redirection of a slap-pass from Brayden McNabb and then realize he doesn’t really know how to do the whole celebration thing: Read more
Take a close look at the four men who will be inducted in the players’ category of the Hockey Hall of Fame Monday night. You’ll see something you’ve never seen before, and may never see again.
Four players, four different countries represented. A Hall of Fame cohort that includes Rob Blake, Mike Modano, Peter Forsberg and Dominik Hasek belongs in the debate of the best of all-time. We’re not going to get into that debate, but hey, the 1972 class included Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau, Bernie Geoffrion, Hap Holmes and Hooley Smith. But there is no Hall of Fame induction group that represents the global reach of the game more prominently than this one. Read more
Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen hasn’t had the best beginning to the season, but if he continues making unbelievable saves like the one he made on Kings center Jarret Stoll Thursday, Stars fans are going to forget his slow start.
With his Stars up 2-0 early in the second period against the host Kings, Lehtonen had to deal with a flurry of activity in front of his net: L.A. left winger Kyle Clifford fired the puck toward Lehtonen; Kings right winger Trevor Lewis tried to bat the puck past him before knocking it over to Stoll, who likely thought he had an easy goal given how much wide-open net he was staring at. But because Lehtonen still had something to say about it, this happened: Read more
Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick didn’t become one of the NHL’s very best at his job because he could steal his team a win once in a while. He got to that level because he can steal wins on a regular basis. And although he fell just short Wednesday in L.A.’s 6-5 shootout loss to Anaheim, a save he made on Ducks center Rickard Rakell was the latest demonstration of Quick’s staggering skill and athleticism.
It was late in the second period with the Kings holding a 3-2 lead when Anaheim broke in quickly on a 3-on-2; Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano fired a shot at Quick, who made the save but gave up a rebound that went, with no small amount of speed, right onto the stick of Rakell. He snapped the puck back at the Kings net immediately, and if there had been almost any other goalie between the pipes, he would’ve scored the first goal of his NHL career. Unfortunately for him, he was facing someone with the instincts and ability to do this: Read more
Since the NHL suspended Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov with pay while he’s under investigation for suspicion of domestic violence, the club has found it difficult to fill his spot on the roster.
The Kings possess limited cap space, and with Voynov’s $4.166-million annual average salary still counting against their cap, they’ve struggled to find a replacement. Only this week did sufficient room open up to allow the Kings to sign free agent blueliner Jamie McBain to a one-year, $550K deal. Read more
Dating back to last season, the salary cap issues in Los Angeles have been known. In fact, the immediate concern after winning their second Stanley Cup in three seasons was whether or not the Kings would be able to re-sign playoff hero Marian Gaborik.
Well, the Kings got Gaborik under contract, extended Jake Muzzin, and otherwise stood pat. However, it didn’t stop rumors from swirling about Mike Richards, the $5.75 million man who has been deployed as the team’s third line pivot. With compliance buyouts available last off-season, it was thought the Kings might exercise theirs to free themselves of Richards’ contract and make space to fill some holes. Read more
Hockey fans are a special breed. So special, in fact, we dedicated an entire issue, appropriately dubbed the Fan Issue, entirely to the hockey fan. Be it cheering (or jeering) habits, your fantastic fan stories, or a little bit about the players you love the most, we wanted to give you the issue you’ve always wanted.
In return, we asked for one small thing: pictures of your fan cave – the place you go, decked out with all your favorite gear, to watch your team 82 times during the regular season as they work towards chasing hockey’s ultimate prize.
We received a number of submissions, but below you can find our favorites: Read more