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

Rumor Roundup: Harding’s waiver troubles and Winnipeg’s scoring worries

Lyle Richardson
Minnesota's Josh Harding (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding cleared waivers on November 18 and was demoted to the Wild’s AHL affiliate in Iowa. The Pioneer Press’ Chad Graff explains the Wild prefer placing Harding on waivers, rather than simply sending him to Iowa on a two-week conditioning stint. This way, the Wild can keep Harding in the minors for as long as they wish.

Harding has one season remaining on his contract at a cap hit of $1.9 million, paying him $2.1 million in actual salary. He’s returning from a broken foot suffered in training camp. The 30-year-old netminder is also battling multiple sclerosis, earning the Masterton Trophy for perseverance in 2013. 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

Wild waive Harding, but don’t count out a comeback

Jared Clinton
Harding

The Minnesota Wild have waived Josh Harding and, if no NHL team makes a claim for him, he will be back in the American League. It might be a step backwards, but there’s no reason to believe this will be even close to the end of the line for Harding.

There’s no shortage of documentation about Harding being able to battle through adversity to make it in the NHL. His fight with multiple sclerosis is no secret, and his performance his first night back after revealing he had the disease – a 1-0, 24-save shutout of the Dallas Stars – is proof-positive it’s going to take a lot more than a demotion to stop Harding. Read more

Rumor Roundup: With current tandem struggling, Edmonton may look for help in goal

Ben Scrivens (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

When the Edmonton Oilers began this season it was believed the additions of Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth finally addressed their goaltending issues. Unfortunately, they’re struggling through the early going. The Oilers enter this week with a combined goals-against per game of 3.28. Scriven’s goals-against average is 2.94 with a save percentage of .899, while Fasth possesses a 3.63 GAA and .885 SP.

In the recent past the Oilers’ poor goaltending numbers could be explained away by their weak defensive game, but this season they’ve improved in that department, entering the week 18th in shots-against per game compared to last season’s 26th overall placement. 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.
Read more

Where are the Wild things? And where are they headed?

Adam Proteau
Thomas Vanek (Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

If you’re a Minnesota Wild fan who also respects the value of the advanced statistic known as PDO, you’re likely a very concerned individual these days. Despite adding winger Thomas Vanek this summer and the marquee signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter a couple years back, the Wild currently sit 10th in the Western Conference. But even worse, in the PDO department, they’re near the bottom of the league; the only teams worse in that regard are the Sabres, Oilers and Coyotes, and ahead of them are such non-powerhouses as Carolina and Colorado.

Add to that a four-game losing streak that included a 3-1 loss to New Jersey Tuesday, and you have a fan base that’s starting to get a little restless. And it’s tough to blame them. The franchise has only won three playoff rounds since NHL hockey returned to Minnesota in the 2000-01 campaign, and although their 43-win season last year was their best showing since they posted 44 wins in 2007-08, there’s no sense they’re on the cusp of entering into that elite group of teams (including the Kings, Blackhawks, Ducks and Penguins) who genuinely put the fear of the hockey gods into the opposition.

With youngsters Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter, Erik Haula and Jonas Brodin still developing, there was bound to be some growing pains for this group – and injuries have also been a factor for them. But if the Wild continue to struggle, GM Chuck Fletcher is going to face an intriguing dilemma: what changes do you make to a roster that, with few exceptions, is under contract at least until the end of next season? Clearly, not making the playoffs isn’t an option for team owner Craig Leipold – who said last season the organization needs to make it to the second round of the post-season in order to turn a profit – meaning Fletcher cannot simply sit back and wait for that youth development to take place. The pressure is real, and it could get spectacular if the ship isn’t righted. Read more

Take a look inside some of hockey’s finest fan caves

Jeff Libonati

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