When you’ve watched hockey for more than four decades and covered it for almost three, the first thing you think is, “Man, I should really make that appointment to get my prostate checked.” Get it? I’m old.
I figure it’s time to take stock of the best five hockey games among the thousands I have seen over the years. So here they are. The rule: I had to actually be in attendance at the game, either as a spectator or media member. Read more
There’s a curious coincidence when it comes to cash and Rick Nash. When the money stops flowing, so does his production.
Come playoff time, when players play for glory instead of green (aside from the occasional, obscure post-season bonus), the New York Rangers’ most expensive regular season asset of $7.8 million scores at the pace of a minimum wage NHLer.
I don’t know about you, but when I saw twitter posts last week saying Sweden asked Victor Hedman to play at the world championship and he declined, I assumed it was because of the Olympic snub. And while the Tampa Bay defenseman would have been well within his rights to do so, that’s not the true story: Hedman is simply too banged up with undisclosed injuries from his recently finished NHL campaign.
“My body wasn’t anywhere close to 100 percent,” Hedman told me. “It would have been too much of a risk.”
By Jared Clinton
1. JOSH HARDING’S COMEBACK
During the first half of the season, there was no story that struck a chord quite like Harding’s. In his second season since a shocking Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis, Harding, last season’s Masterton Trophy winner, put the Wild squarely on his shoulders. Before the end of December, the 29-year-old goaltender had racked up an 18-7-3 record to go along with a league-leading 1.65 goals-agasint average and .933 save percentage.
Harding, drafted 38th overall in 2002, battled his way to the starting role, after being one of the best backups in the league. But Harding’s story became his health problems again as 2013 came to a close. Harding was shelved, albeit temporarily, with GM Chuck Fletcher citing a change in the goaltender’s medication. However, after just two starts, Harding again left the team for medical reasons. He has yet to return to the Wild lineup but continues to work out and practice with the team. Another return for the inspirational netminder seems to be in the cards. Read more
Score one for the trolls.
Meghan Duggan, captain of the American women’s Olympic team, did an ingenious job poking fun at a controversy surrounding the New York Yankees Thursday night. Duggan, a Massachusetts native, was on hand at Fenway Park to throw the game’s ceremonial first pitch, clad in a Red Sox jersey. Before she popped the mitt, she made a cheeky little gesture, touching her neck:
Photo by Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY sports
She did so in reference to Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda, who was busted a night earlier for having pine tar on his neck. He was dabbing his fingers with it to improve his grip on a cold night. It’s a wise move in theory, but it’s technically cheating and he did so with the subtlety of How I Met Your Mother (Yep, I went there. Vastly overrated show.)
For Ryan O’Reilly to be passed over for the Lady Byng Trophy this season would require members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association to blunder almost as badly as they did last year when they made Alexander Ovechkin an first-team all-star at both left and right wing.
O’Reilly plays big minutes – 24th in the league in 5-on-5 ice time per game – against the opponents’ best lines and led the league in takeaways, all the while only getting two penalty minutes this season. In his 72nd game, he broke his stick on a faceoff against Logan Couture and kicked the puck back to his defenseman before being called for playing with a broken stick. O’Reilly led his team in goals, logged more ice time than any other forward on the team and manages to get the puck away from his opponents without going on the wrong side of the rulebook. Read more
In the last moments of his last news conference at the Sochi Olympics, Canadian coach Mike Babcock had the following observation: “Does anybody know who won the scoring race? Does anybody care? Does anybody know who won the gold medal? See ya.”
And with that he left for the closing ceremonies, having coached Canada to its second straight gold medal. It bears mentioning that most of us still remember who won the scoring championship in Sochi. Phil Kessel had five goals and eight points for Team USA, finding the back of the net more often than Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Corey Perry, Rick Nash, Ryan Getzlaf, Patrick Marleau, Martin St-Louis, Patrice Bergeron, John Tavares, Matt Duchene and Chris Kunitz combined. Read more
There will be no need for Hockey Canada to give Bob Nicholson a golden handshake or a gold watch when he officially announces his departure on Friday. Nicholson already has approximately as much gold as Fort Knox.
Under his watch as president and CEO of Hockey Canada, his country has won seven Olympic gold medals (three men, four women), five World championship golds, 12 World Junior golds and 10 World Women’s gold medals. And speaking of gold, he has presided over Hockey Canada becoming a money-making monolith, both in terms of attracting sponsorship money and generating revenues from events. For example, the WJC in Montreal and Toronto could make a profit of up to $30 million, 50 percent of which goes to Hockey Canada. Read more