Which two players will decide the fate of the 2015 Stanley Cup?

Jonathan Toews (left) and Tyler Johnson (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Full disclosure: your trusty correspondent is in a playoff hockey pool and currently sits in first place. Take that, haters. My remaining players are Victor Hedman, Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane for the Chicago Blackhawks. I’m nine points ahead of a guy who has Hedman, Stamkos and Ryan Callahan of the Lightning and Sharp, Kane and Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks. I’m 10 points ahead of another guy who has Hedman and Stamkos from the Lightning and Toews, Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith from the Blackhawks.

So, the way I see it, the only thing standing between me and lining my jean shorts with some bills is Toews having a monster Stanley Cup final and Johnson doing virtually nothing. And let’s face it, if that happens, the chances of the Blackhawks winning their third Stanley Cup in six seasons and becoming a kind of, sort of dynasty will go from very good to a virtual certainty.

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Russians should play back home until they’re 28: Slava Fetisov

Vladimir Tarasenko (Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

Relations between Russia and North America are a little frosty right now. Discipline is expected from the IIHF after the Russians took off during the Canadian national anthem at the World Championship, while the newest issue of Harper’s magazine reveals that 81 percent of Russians today have a negative view of the United States, compared with just 25 percent in 2013.

And now a hockey legend has waded into the fray.

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Are Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry best 1-2 draft punch in NHL history?

Ryan Getzlaf (left) and Corey Perry  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

When fans of the Anaheim Ducks watch games such as Thursday night’s thrashing of the Calgary Flames in Game 1 of their playoff series, there’s a good chance they thank their lucky stars that Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are under contract for the next four seasons. (Oh, and if you happen to have both of them in a playoff pool, you’re probably clicking your heels together today as well. Click-click.)

They’re also probably pretty happy that Perry had such a poor showing in the CHL Prospects Game in 2003 and that Getzlaf was likened to “a poor man’s Patrick Marleau,” in THN’s Draft Preview that year. Because if not, Getzlaf would not have tumbled to 19th and Perry to 28th in that year’s draft and the Ducks would not have had the chance to take them. Read more

Time for American stars to stop treating Worlds like the Podunk Silver Stick

Ken Campbell
Anders Lee  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The good news is Team USA at this year’s World Championship has a goal-a-game in the NHL among its forwards. The bad news is it’s a committee of eight guys. Of the 13 forwards named to this year’s team, there are just 84 goals at the NHL level this season. That’s six fewer than Sidney Crosby, Tyler Seguin and Claude Giroux have among them.

It’s strange how good the United States is at almost every level of hockey. It has owned the under-18 World Championship, recently picking up its sixth gold medal in the event in the past seven years. The Americans are a force at the World Junior and women’s level, but have been a bust on the international scene with their NHL players. Read more

Jets carrying Great White (North) hopes on their shoulders

Winnipeg Jets  (Photo by Lance Thomson/NHLI via Getty Images)

In some ways, the most unlikely team in this year’s playoffs carries much of a country’s hopes on its back. The Winnipeg Jets, picked by this publication (ahem) and many other pundits to finish last in their division, are in the playoffs.

And there are some who believe the Jets have what it takes to defeat the Anaheim Ducks in the first round. This corner is not one of them, but there is a sentiment that the Jets are flying high and the playoff-underachieving Ducks are once again ripe to be upset. Read more

2018 Olympic hockey format unveiled. Which countries will make it?

Sidney Crosby. (Getty Images)

Olympic hockey will happen in 2018, NHLers or not. At the very least, the tournament will feature the world’s best female players. Will the men’s elite make the trek to PyeongChang, South Korea? We’ll see. Whatever happens, the IIHF is proceeding as if everyone will come to play. It released the respective formats for Olympic men’s and women’s hockey qualification Wednesday. Let’s break down how each field will be determined – under the assumption NHLers play.

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NHL makes history with first-ever Russian referee

Evgeny Romasko (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

It was only fitting that the first Russian to ever referee an NHL game would do it in Detroit, the city that assembled the Russian Five and is home to one of the all-time greatest Russian players in NHL history in Pavel Datsyuk.

Evgeny Romasko made history Monday night by becoming the first-ever Russian-born official to work an NHL game when the Red Wings defeated the Edmonton Oilers 5-2. It took Romasko just four minutes and 52 seconds to call the first penalty of his NHL career, a highsticking minor against Marek Zidlicky of the Red Wings, which impressed his boss, NHL director of officiating Stephen Walkom. Read more

Olympian Hilary Knight’s involvement in #LikeAGirl campaign makes her an even greater role model

Jared Clinton
Hilary Knight (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The message of the #LikeAGirl campaign struck a chord with Boston Blades forward and U.S. Olympian Hilary Knight the moment she saw the commercial during the Super Bowl.

In the minute-long spot, a voice from behind the camera asks men and women, young and old, to mime tasks, “like a girl.” In the first half, the men and women mimic someone barely capable of accomplishing athletic feats like running, throwing and fighting. In the latter half, young women show exactly how they do those same tasks, running furiously on the spot and fighting with all their might. That’s what struck Knight most.

“The commercial actually changed the way that I saw the phrase previously,” Knight said following her three-goal, five-point game to lead the Blades to the Clarkson Cup final. “Being in the sport that I am, I’ve heard, ‘Oh, you shoot like a girl.’ That implied that you didn’t shoot well enough to be on the ice.” Read more