Pittsburgh Penguins unveil excellent throwback third jersey – what do you think?

Rory Boylen
Pittsburgh's third jersey.

The Pittsburgh Penguins unveiled a third jersey they’ll use during the 2014-15 season today – and we’re big fans of the throwback look.

The “Pittsburgh Gold,” a color scheme used way back in the Mario Lemieux Stanley Cup days, returns for 12 games this season. When the Penguins moved away from these jerseys in the early 1990s, they were a league powerhouse with back-to-back Stanley Cups. And although we ranked the current Penguins logo – with its dulled gold color – eighth-best in the NHL, we would rank the Pittsburgh Gold penguin even higher. It’s a sharp look.

Check it out. Here are the third jerseys the Penguins will use. Excellent stuff, right? Read more

Can Devils win with a lineup of senior citizens?

Ken Campbell
The New Jersey Devils, led by Jaromir Jagr. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

There is no truth to the rumor that the New Jersey Devils had extra defibrillators on hand when their players showed up for fitness testing on the first day of training camp today. But you can understand how these things get started.

When the Devils opened camp, they did so with a decidedly older bent to their roster of hopefuls. Among those who are in Devils camp this fall on tryouts are defensemen Tomas Kaberle and Mike Komisarek, center Scott Gomez, right winger Jordin Tootoo and left winger Ruslan Fedotenko. Combined number of NHL games last season: 89. Combined age: 171 years and 93 days. Read more

THN’s 2014-15 NHL season preview: Washington Capitals

The Hockey News
Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

2013-14 record: 38-30-14

Acquisitions: Kris Newbury, Tim Kennedy, Chris Conner, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, Justin Peters

Departures: Tyson Strachan, Mikhail Grabovski, Joel Rechlicz, Jaroslav Halak, Tom Poti

Top five fantasy players: Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Joel Ward, Mike Green, Marcus Johansson

Boom, Bust and Bottom Line: The best, worst and most likely scenario
Boom: A leaky defensive team went out and made big moves to rectify the situation, beginning with the hiring of coach Barry Trotz, the former Nashville bench boss. He’s been teaching staunch systems for years, and his new troops in Washington are intrigued by what he can instill. He’ll have a couple new assets on the back end in free agents Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen, who both swung over from Pittsburgh. So right off the hop, the Capitals are much deeper on defense, with Karl Alzner, John Carlson and Mike Green still in the fold. Read more

The top 10 fighters to watch this season

Brian McGrattan and Patrick Bordeleau (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

If you like a good scrap, you might find yourself a bit under siege lately in the hockey world. Regulations are tightening up, though the powers-that-be still maintain that organic fights, rather than staged bouts, are still part of the game. And even though enforcers such as Paul Bissonnette and Colton Orr appear to have uphill battles in returning to the NHL this season, there are still plenty of scrappers to watch. With a shout-out to hockeyfights.com as a research tool, here are the best:

Read more

Maple Leafs assistant calls out Phil Kessel – will Toronto overreact?

Rory Boylen
Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Steve Spott hasn’t been behind the Toronto Maple Leafs bench for even one game yet and his relationship with star player Phil Kessel is already the subject of an article in the Toronto Star.

On Wednesday, the Star’s Dave Feschuk wrote about Spott working with Kessel on a new defensive zone breakout strategy where he wanted the winger to come across the blueline to force the defenseman back, instead of staying on his own side of the ice. Spott was talking about the exchange he had with the Leafs’ top player to a group of minor hockey coaches who were attending a coach’s clinic where Spott was a guest.

Some of those minor hockey coaches told Feschuk about Spott’s anecdotes – and how Kessel didn’t agree with Spott’s play design.

From the Star:

“Spotter said that when he went to Phil (with the breakout play), Phil said, I’m not doing it,” said one of the attendees, a former professional player.

Said another: “Spott was saying (that) these are the things I’ve got to deal with now that I’ve never had to deal with. In the AHL (where Spott coached last season with the Toronto Marlies), when you’re the coach what you say goes. Whereas now that I’m here (in the NHL), I’ve got a guy telling me: No. I’m not going to do that.” Read more

Hi, Minnesota? It’s me, Marty Brodeur. I’d like to apply for a job

Matt Larkin
The Wild need goaltending help, and free agent Martin Brodeur awaits an opportunity. (Getty Images)

It’s a tough time to play goalie for the Minnesota Wild. Josh Harding, fresh off an outstanding season in which he led the league in goals-against average and save percentage, already had a major hurdle to climb two days ago. Multiple sclerosis would limit his ability to handle a full starter’s workload. Things went from bad to worse for Harding Wednesday when he broke his foot. The details remain foggy, but so far we know Harding kicked a wall after an off-ice altercation with a teammate. He’s out indefinitely.

Next up is Darcy Kuemper, 24, who was good but not great in chunks of starting duty last season. In theory, he could step right into Harding’s role, but he’s a restricted free agent and contract talks have not gone well. Wild coach Mike Yeo and GM Chuck Fletcher publicly expressed their frustration about the process. Kuemper has even threatened to bolt for the Kontinental League. Kuemper wants a one-way deal, but the Wild prefer a two-way. Kuemper apparently hasn’t quite played well enough to win the organization’s confidence.

That leaves Niklas Backstrom as the “sure thing.” The Finn is 36 and fresh off core muscle surgery. He looked like a shell of his old self when he did play last season. He’s supposedly healthy now, but he’s only healthy relative to his 2013-14 self.

Minnesota’s net situation is dire enough that GM Chuck Fletcher invited Ilya Bryzgalov back for a training camp tryout. Bryzgalov accepted. Maybe Fletcher simply wants to up the heat on Kuemper’s camp. Or maybe the Wild believe they can get by with a Backstrom/Bryzgalov tandem. Bryz was brilliant at times for Minnesota down the stretch last spring after coming over at the trade deadline, going 7-1-3 with a 2.12 GAA and .911 SP. He left a lot to be desired in the playoffs, however, losing six of nine starts with a yucky .885 SP. That’s the problem with Bryzgalov. You never know when he might Bryzgalov things up.

And that’s where I see an opportunity in Minnesota. Martin Brodeur, this is your cue.

Read more

Teemu Selanne: “I’d still be playing” if Bruce Boudreau wasn’t Ducks coach

Adam Proteau
Teemu Selanne (Getty Images)

Never ask Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau to play Crazy Eights.

That was the takeaway Thursday after Finnish journalist Juha Hiitelä began Tweeting excerpts from Teemu Selanne’s soon-to-be-released book.

Essentially – and despite calling Boudreau a “nice man” – Selanne threw his former coach in Anaheim under the bus, drove over him with it, backed up, and repeated the process seven or eight times. In the most shocking statement, Selanne said he’d have returned to the NHL for a 22nd season if Boudreau wasn’t still the Ducks’ coach.

But he said much more than that. Here’s the now-retired Selanne describing his experience in the 2014 playoffs, when Boudreau made him a healthy scratch prior to Anaheim’s first round, Game 4 showdown against Dallas: Read more

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin to miss start of training camp

Rory Boylen
Crosby & Malkin (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

Try not to be alarmed Pittsburgh Penguins fans – but Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will miss the start of training camp.

From the team’s website:

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will be held out of the start of training camp, it was announced today by Pittsburgh Penguins Executive Vice President and General Manager Jim Rutherford.

Rutherford said the decision was made as a precaution after both players suffered injuries while preparing for camp. Read more