Ovechkin vs. Nash could become one of the great Rocket Richard races

Josh Elliott
Alex Ovechkin

It’s been five years since we’ve seen a scoring race this exciting.

Flash back to 2009-10, when the ‘Greatest Player in the World’ debate was in full swing and Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin were neck-and-neck-and-neck in the race for the Rocket Richard Trophy.

The whole contest came down to the last game of the season on Apr. 11, when Crosby scored two goals, Stamkos tallied one and Ovechkin failed to score. Ovechkin had the lead going into the day, but couldn’t keep up as Crosby and Stamkos passed him.

Crosby and Stamkos ended up splitting the hardware with 51-goal seasons, while Ovechkin fell one goal short in 10 fewer games played.

Not since then have the goal scoring leader and the runner-up been one goal apart at the end of the season.
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Why no Selke love for two-way wingers like Hossa and Nash?

Josh Elliott
Marian Hossa and Rick Nash

Officially, the Frank J. Selke Trophy is awarded to “the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.”

There’s nothing in there about faceoff percentage, yet that stat seems to have become one of the most important criteria for picking the Selke winner. Faceoff winning percentage comes up in the Selke conversation just as often as stats like plus-minus, shorthanded minutes and point production.

The problem with that is wingers are rarely taken seriously as potential Selke candidates.
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How a post-war family squabble ruined the Rangers

Stan Fischler
Lynn Patrick (Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

If the supreme boss of an NHL team tells his son – who had been the team’s leading scorer – he’s no longer good enough to make the club, how could the son possibly outwit his dad and get back on the squad?

This curious generational battle – won by the son – involved one of the NHL’s foremost powerbrokers, New York Rangers GM-president Lester ‘The Silver Fox’ Patrick, who demanded his oldest son, Lynn, a Hall of Fame left winger, not return to the Blueshirts lineup in October 1945 at the age of 33. Read more

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault wins his 500th career game

Josh Elliott
Alain Vigneault

Alain Vigneault became the 21st coach in NHL history to win 500 games behind the bench with his Rangers’ convincing 5-1 victory over Arizona on Saturday.

New York’s win made Vigneault the fourth-fastest coach to 500 wins in NHL history – a feat he accomplished in just 942 career games behind the bench with the Rangers, Vancouver Canucks and Montreal Canadiens.

Vigneault guided the Rangers to the Stanley Cup final is his first season in New York last year, and has them poised to return to the playoffs again.
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Rangers’ Kevin Hayes scores a good, old-fashioned, end-to-end beauty of a goal

Adam Proteau
Kevin Hayes (Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

New York Rangers rookie center Kevin Hayes may be only 22, but he looked like a polished veteran Thursday night in Colorado as he dazzled on a one-man, end-to-end rush that ended with his ninth goal of the season.

The former Boston College star took hold of the puck deep in his own zone early in the second period and proceeded to streak down the middle of the ice. For some reason, the Avs players felt no inclination whatsoever to put a body on him, so he drove in to the left of Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov, around Colorado defenseman Tyson Barrie, then pulled back toward the front of the net to score an easy goal:

Okay, maybe easy isn’t the right word to describe it. But “fast” certainly is. The entire sequence, from the time Hayes began down the ice until the time he scored, took all of seven seconds. If you wonder why veteran NHLers are fond of saying this is a young man’s league, you should wonder no more.

The five biggest blockbuster trades in the past five years

Tyler-Seguin

Forget unbelievable goals, huge hits and incredible saves. There is nothing that gets the hockey world buzzing like a big trade.

Wednesday morning the Winnipeg Jets and Buffalo Sabres teamed up for one of the biggest trades in recent memory, a blockbuster deal that sent Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian and a prospect to Buffalo in exchange for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, two prospects and a draft pick. It was a monster deal that went from a rumor to huge news in the span of hours.

In today’s salary cap world, it’s not the type of trade you see often and that’s why when a mammoth deal goes down it’s nearly enough to shutdown Twitter, if only temporarily. Read more

10 players who retired with teams you wouldn’t expect

Mats Sundin

This season the NHL has had three very different situations play out when it comes to the retirement of notable players. Each of Daniel Alfredsson, Martin Brodeur, and Evgeni Nabokov had called it quits, but each in different ways.

Alfredsson signed a one-day free agent deal with the Senators to retire in the city that he called home for so many years, while Brodeur retired a Blue after signing a deal in St. Louis as a free agent after Brian Elliott went down with an injury.

Then there’s Nabokov. The long-time San Jose Sharks goaltender was traded back to San Jose on Monday following a brief stint with the Tampa Bay Lightning in a move that will allow the 39-year-old to hang them up in the place he had the best years of his career.

Many times, however, players aren’t allowed to ride off into the sunset the way that Alfredsson and Nabokov had. So, like Brodeur, these are 10 players that have retired in cities you wouldn’t expect: Read more