Year in Review: top 10 saves of 2014

Ward

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

What can the NHL do to get more fans?

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By Rudy Mezzetta

When the Predators partnered with the city of Nashville to build a new community rink – the twin-pad Ford Ice Center, which opened this fall – the goal wasn’t merely to extend the team’s brand. It was to convert new people to true hockey believers.

“Get a stick in someone’s hands and they’re a fan for life,” said Sean Henry, the Preds’ president and chief operating officer.

Growing the fan base, while ensuring existing fans stay happy, is crucial for the league. It’s a long-term commitment, said league executives, but it’s the lifeblood for the sport, and by extension, the business of the NHL. Read more

Finland’s WJC hope could hinge on Predators goalie prospect Juuse Saros

Juuse Saros (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

By Risto Pakarinen

Last year, goalie Juuse Saros could do no wrong. He played 44 of the 60 regular season games for his HPK team in his hometown, Hameenlinna, Finland as a rookie. He surely would have played more had he not missed a few weeks during the World Junior Championship in Sweden.

At the WJC, his .943 save percentage was the tournament’s best, as was his goals against average of 1.57. Media voted Saros to the tournament all-star team and Finland won gold. At the end of the season, his SP in the Finnish league was .923 and his GAA was 1.76. Read more

Top 10 Vezina candidates of 2014-15: Rinne rules

Pekka Rinne (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Goaltending can make or break a team’s season. Just ask the Edmonton Oilers, who for years have looked promising but have been unable to secure a goaltender to give them the big save they need.

You won’t find either Oilers goaltender, Ben Scrivens or Viktor Fasth, on this list of the top 10 Vezina candidates. Nor will you find Michael Hutchinson, who currently leads the league in save percentage and is second in goals-against average. The reason being Hutchinson just hasn’t had the workload, and including his numbers also put goaltenders like Colorado’s Calvin Pickard and injured St. Louis netminder Brian Elliott into the conversation.

Instead, many familiar faces are among the contenders, though not a single one has won the Vezina in their career. Read more

Preds’ James Neal first player to be named & shamed under NHL’s anti-diving push

Adam Proteau
James Neal (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

It is something of an understatement to say Predators winger James Neal has a reputation among NHL players and officials, and it isn’t a good one. Even before he was dealt to Nashville this summer, he became infamous for embellishing and vicious episodes.

So it wasn’t in the least bit eyebrow-raising to hear Neal was the first NHLer publicly named and fined under the NHL’s new anti-diving legislation. He had already received a warning after a Nov. 13 game against St. Louis, but apparently the message didn’t sink in. Because even the most ardent Preds fan who’s being honest with themselves would have to admit the play for which Neal is being fined (which took place Dec. 13 against the Sharks) is laughably blatant diving: Read more

Top 10 Calder Trophy candidates: Can anyone catch Filip Forsberg?

Filip Forsberg (Getty Images)

There’s been no shortage of great stories this season, but one of the most surprising things is the cast of rookies who have quickly made names for themselves in the league.

The thing with rookies is they’re one of the most difficult groups of players to accurately forecast. With little known about how well adjusted they’ll be to the NHL, they can either boom or bust, and in some cases an injury or unfavorable situation can send the early Calder Trophy favorite to the bottom of the ballot.

Take Tampa Bay’s Jonathan Drouin, for instance, who some people thought would run away with the award but doesn’t even appear on our list. Or John Gibson, the THN consensus pick for the Calder, who had a shot at leading the Ducks this season before injury derailed his season.

These are the top 10 Calder Candidates at this point in the season: Read more