Top 10 Norris candidates: Letang the leader?

Kris Letang (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

Year in and year out, one of the most heavily debated awards is the Norris Trophy.

The award given to the NHL’s most outstanding defenseman has, in recent years, had a tendency not to go simply to the best defenseman, but rather the one with the most points. At times, it feels as though the trophy should be split in two, with one award going to the defenseman with the most points and another to the best overall defenseman.

However, in our ranking of the top 10 Norris candidates, we did our best to take into account all facets of defense in hopes it gave us a true picture of the Norris race. By using the standard statistics like points, average ice time and shorthanded time on ice – a key defensive situation – mixed with advanced statistics like Corsi for, quality of competition, and defensive zone starts, the things that can help tell us which players are driving play and not just benefitting from sheltered minutes.

There are a few surprises, but for the most part, it’s the usual suspects. Read more

How Minnesota ruined Montreal’s 2001 draft

Ryan Kennedy
Minnesota's Mikko Koivu (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

The exciting and sometimes infuriating reality of the draft is how different teams view the same players. It’s common to hear a GM say “we didn’t expect him to be available when we picked,” and sometimes it’s true, but sometimes it’s just bluster. The other side of the coin is that some players are highly coveted by multiple teams, but only one can ultimately select him. One great example came in 2001, when Minnesota was picking right before Montreal.

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Team Canada hopeful Lawson Crouse leads off The Hot List

Kingston's Lawson Crouse (Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)

The world junior picture is beginning to clear up as the holiday classic nears. Sweden won’t get Andre Burakovsky from Washington and Canada won’t get Bo Horvat from Vancouver, but the biggest blow may be to the Russians. That’s because Nikita Zadorov has become too integral to the suddenly-hot Buffalo Sabres. The World Jr. A Challenge also has some great talent this year and it’s going on now, so let’s take a look at some of the young players we’re excited to see in the NHL one day.

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Another NHLer with the mumps: Rangers’ Derick Brassard the latest to come down with a case

Derick Brassard (Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

Just a few hours after Penguins star Sidney Crosby was confirmed to have come down with a case of the mumps, the NHL had another player linked to the virus when Rangers center Derick Brassard was sent from a road trip in Edmonton back to New York City with a suspected case.

Brassard, who was the Blueshirts’ second-leading point-getter (24 in 27 games), is the 14th player of the season to show symptoms of the mumps, which was contracted by teammate Tanner Glass in November. Other players affected include New Jersey’s Travis Zajac and Adam Larsson; Anaheim’s Corey Perry, Francois Beauchemin, Clayton Stoner and Emerson Etem; and Minnesota’s Ryan Suter, Jonas Brodin, Keith Ballard, Marco Scandella and Christian Folin. Read more

Minnesota Wild prospect goes between the legs for jaw-dropping, highlight reel goal

Jared Clinton
Christoph Bertschy (via YouTube)

There’s no telling what kind of impact, if any, Minnesota 2012 sixth-round draft pick Christoph Bertschy will have in the NHL. What is for certain is that he’ll be turning some heads with this between-the-legs partial breakaway tally.

The goal, which comes from the Switzerland’s top league, put Bertschy’s SC Bern ahead of the Kloten Flyers 5-1 and was a little bit of salt rubbed into the wounds of a team already being beaten soundly: Read more

Islanders dubious daily double was one for the history books

N.Y. Islanders vs. Minnesota (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

When the New York Islanders blew a three-goal lead and lost to the Minnesota Wild Tuesday night, they accomplished a dubious feat that had happened only five previous times in NHL history and hasn’t occurred in more than a decade.

The Islanders 5-4 loss to the Minnesota Wild marked the second consecutive game in which they had blown a three-goal lead. Just for good measure, they actually twice blew a three-goal lead against the Wild. That game came just three days after they coughed up a three-spot in a 6-4 loss on home ice to the St. Louis Blues, the game that gave Martin Brodeur his first victory in a Blues uniform. Read more

Suspend him or not: Matt Martin’s elbow on Wild defenseman Keith Ballard

Adam Proteau
Matt Martin (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Islanders left winger Matt Martin has made a name for himself as the NHL’s annual hits leader for the past few seasons. However, Martin’s hit on Minnesota Wild defenseman Keith Ballard Tuesday resulted in a horrendous on-ice scene and could result in disciplinary action being taken against him.

Ballard had just made a pass midway through the game when Martin attempted to finish a check on him. Ballard turns away in an attempt to avoid it, but Martin’s left elbow follows through and makes contact with Ballard’s head, knocking his head directly into the boards and rendering him unconscious. Read more