Maple Leafs, Rangers, Canadiens all billion dollar organizations according to Forbes

Madison Square Garden

My, what a difference one year and a massive TV contract can make.

In 2013, when American business magazine Forbes released their NHL franchise valuations, only one team was said to be a billion dollar organization: the Toronto Maple Leafs ($1.15 billion). That the Leafs were – and still are – the most valued team in the NHL comes to little surprise what with a fan base that continually shells out top dollar regardless of the outcome. It is hockey mecca, like it or not.

But Tuesday, when Forbes released its rankings for 2014, two franchises, the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers, found themselves in the billion dollar club thanks in large part to a friendly bump from the NHL’s league-wide television deals plus some added money from local television contracts. Read more

Struggles, streaks, and scoring: 10 unexpected stats at the quarter point of the season

Jakub Voracek's amazing start means fantasy players could get a king's ransom for him in a trade. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

There are always early season surprises. That’s just the nature of hockey. A lucky bounce here and there, and you have Jon Sim fighting for the lead in preseason scoring, which is something that has actually happened in the past.

Over the course of the year, however, these things tend to even out. At the quarter mark of the season, trends are starting to develop. Of those trends, you’ll notice some are related, while others, not so much. These are the ten most unexpected stats at the quarter-pole. Read more

Power Rankings: Fish sticks rocket to No. 1

Ken Campbell
New York Islanders (Photo by Jim McIsaac/NHLI via Getty Images)

The New York Islanders are not in first place in the NHL today. They’re not even in the top five of the NHL standings. But is there a team in the league any team would like to meet less than the Islanders at the moment?

We doubt it. The Islanders have won eight of their past nine, including back-to-back wins over the team most consider to be the best in the Eastern Conference, the Pittsburgh Penguins. They’ve scored at least four goals in each of their past five victories and are playing with a swagger we haven’t seen from this team in years.

And that’s why they’re on top of thn.com’s weekly Power Rankings. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.)

1. N.Y. ISLANDERS (9): “This is a new hockey club with a new attitude,” said coach Jack Capuano after a home-and-home sweep of Pittsburgh. Coming up: Four Metro division games.

2. ST. LOUIS (1): Jay Bouwmeester’s Ironman streak ends at 737, Ryan Reaves’ consecutive goals streak starts at one. Coming up: Three winnable games at home to Ottawa and Edmonton, on the road to Minnesota.

3. ANAHEIM (5): Rene Bourque played 9:54 and had three shots and three hits in his Ducks debut against Arizona Sunday night. Coming up: Two more at home and a trip to San Jose Saturday night.

4. MONTREAL (3): In the seven games Montreal has lost this season, they’ve been outscored by a margin of 33-5. Coming up: Home-and-home against suddenly hot Buffalo, then a four-game western road trip. Read more

The next great two-way center? Colin White headlines The Hot List

Team USA's Colin White (Photo courtesy of Tom Sorensen/USA Hockey)

It was a glorious weekend of Michigan hockey for me, as I took a road trip to Ann Arbor to take in games featuring the National Team Development Program (NTDP) and University of Michigan. The NTDP got two wins over United States League opponents while the Wolverines capped off a weekend sweep of American International on Saturday. All three games gave me a great look at some top prospects and here are a few of them below, plus more kids we can’t wait to see in the NHL some day.

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Watch AHL goaltender come up with inventive way to break up 2-on-0

Jared Clinton
LeggioNet

There’s a lot of ways to break up a 2-on-1, like sliding to block a pass or an aggressive poke check. When it comes to a 2-on-0, it gets a little bit more difficult, but veteran American League netminder David Leggio has a few ideas.

Leggio, who is playing his first season with Islanders affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers, had to think quickly as Springfield Falcons forwards Dana Tyrell and Lukas Sedlak came barreling down on him on a shorthanded 2-on-0: Read more

Rochester bookie pleads guilty: What does it mean for Thomas Vanek?

Ryan Kennedy
Thomas Vanek (Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

It began in late July, when Minnesota Wild left winger Thomas Vanek made a surprising appearance at a federal government building in Rochester, N.Y., where the Austrian national had once played for the American League’s Americans. Vanek was co-operating with investigators in a gambling probe and no charges were laid against the hockey player.

But with one of the men charged in the case pleading guilty to money laundering on Thursday, Vanek’s name is back in the news.

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Rumor Roundup: Stars may be aligning for Martin Brodeur

Martin Brodeur (Getty Images)

It appears the Boston Bruins could look elsewhere for help at right wing. While they reportedly had interest in Buffalo Sabres winger Chris Stewart, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman claims it doesn’t appear a deal can be made at this time.

Friedman claims the asking price was either two young players or a young player and a draft pick. CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty commended Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli for walking away, noting Chiarelli is pleased with the improved stability his forward lines have shown in recent games. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Isles have prospects to help land supplementary talent

Dallas Stars v New York Islanders

The New York Islanders are off to a terrific start this season. Entering this week, the Isles had a record of 6-2-0, putting them atop the Metropolitan Division and second overall in the Eastern Conference.

ESPN.com’s Craig Custance fielded a question from an Islanders fan wondering if the club might pursue a top-six forward like Carolina’s Eric Staal or a top-four defenseman. With over $63.5 million in payroll, the Isles have the space to take on a star player, as well as depth in promising young players to offer up as trade bait. Read more