Steve Mason goes post-to-post to make awesome pad save

Jared Clinton
Steve Mason robs Joel Ward (via NHL/YouTube)

As much as the Flyers have struggled at times this season, it’s hard to look at the club and wonder where Philadelphia would be in the standings if it weren’t for goaltender Steve Mason. The 27-year-old has been among the best 5-on-5 goaltenders in the past two seasons and he continues to find his way onto the highlight-reel with desperation saves. Wednesday was no different.

With the Sharks breaking into the Flyers’ zone in the first period of Wednesday’s game, the puck was worked to the left wing boards where Sharks winger Patrick Marleau was able to wind up and unload a wicked slapshot that was blocked by Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn but found its way right onto the tape of San Jose’s Joel Ward.

Mason was all the way to his right when the Marleau shot came towards him and the deflection off of Schenn left the Flyers netminder completely out of position and gave Ward the entire net to shoot at. Ward didn’t score, though: Read more

Rumor Roundup: Canadiens could be after scoring punch on trade market

Wayne Simmonds. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

With the Montreal Canadiens struggling to score and tumbling in the standings, there’s considerable speculation another trade could be in the works after the recent holiday freeze ended at midnight on Dec. 27.

The reported trade of Zack Kassian to the Edmonton Oilers happened early Monday morning, and the Canadiens received goaltender Ben Scrivens in return which could help shore up the goaltending situation. That doesn’t help the Canadiens acquire more offensive punch, though.

Le Journal de Montreal’s Pierre Durocher claims Habs forward Alex Galchenyuk surfaced in the rumor mill. It could take a promising youngster like the 21-year-old Galchenyuk to attract an established offensive player. Gagnon reports GM Marc Bergevin is rumored to have interest in Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds. However, there’s little indication the Flyers are keen to ship out Simmonds.

Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer suggests the Flyers should move backup goalie Michal Neuvirth while his trade value is high. He believes it’ll be worthwhile if the Flyers can get “a high draft pick, a backup goalie” and someone to take the fading Vincent Lecavalier’s contract off their hands.

He feels Montreal could be a prime destination, but the Habs primary issue is their lack of scoring and Scrivens fills the goaltending spot the Canadiens were looking to fill. Bergevin won’t take on Lecavalier’s $4.5-million cap hit through 2017-18 unless he’s getting someone like Simmonds as part of the return. Even then, the Habs GM could balk at that asking price.

KOMAROV POTENTIAL TRADE CHIP?

TSN’s Darren Dreger created a bit of a buzz before Christmas by suggesting Toronto Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov could fetch a late first-round pick if he’s put on the trade block. Komarov, 28, is playing the best hockey of his brief NHL career, on pace for a 36-goal, 58-point campaign.

The Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons, however, quickly dismissed that notion. He claims the Leafs have no intention of moving Komarov unless they get a mind-blowing offer.

Even if the Leafs decide to move Komarov, it won’t happen until near the trade deadline. While he’s always been a solid checking forward with a decent offensive touch, it remains to be seen if he can maintain his current production over a full season. He’s also seeing top-six minutes on a talent-thin roster this season.

For a rebuilding club like the Leafs, it would be wiser to retain a character player like Komarov. He could provide leadership for promising young forwards like William Nylander and Mitch Marner when they make their anticipated jump to the Leafs lineup next season.

PANTHERS SEEKING GOALTENDER?

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks recently reported the Florida Panthers had interest in goaltender Cam Talbot prior to the New York Rangers shipping him to the Edmonton Oilers last June. Brooks suggested it would be unsurprising if they took another run at landing the 27-year-old netminder to bolster their depth between the pipes.

Goaltending, however, is among the Panthers’ strengths this season. Starter Roberto Luongo continues to put up solid numbers, while 30-year-old backup Al Montoya has better stats than Talbot. Indeed, Panthers coach Gerard Gallant recently praised his current tandem for their strong play.

The Panthers could be busy leading up to the NHL trade deadline. Earlier this month, GM Dale Tallon acknowledged he’ll be in the market for a scorer. Adding a goaltender, however, is the least of his concerns.

Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

Why Sweden is the favorite to win this year’s World Junior Championship

William Nylander (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

The reason the World Junior Championship is so fun is that in the past five years, five different countries have won the gold medal. That parity is a blessing to the tournament, but it also makes it difficult to handicap a showdown in which two teams with championship aspirations often meet in the quarterfinal, as Russia and the United States have done in the past two years.

But if we’re talking favorites for the 2016 installment, which kicks off in Helsinki on Boxing Day, I will take Sweden. And here’s my logic:

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Blue Jackets’ Dubinsky catches Flyers’ Voracek with brutal knee-on-knee hit

Jared Clinton
Brandon Dubinsky hits Jakub Voracek (via Streamable)

It might not be worth a suspension, but the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is certainly going to be taking a look at an ugly knee-on-knee collision between Columbus’ Brandon Dubinsky and Philadelphia’s Jakub Voracek.

Late in the first period of Saturday’s game, Voracek collected a loose puck in the neutral zone after the Blue Jackets had chipped it out of their defensive zone. When Voracek grabbed the puck, Dubinsky was coming toward him, but the Flyers winger had space to operate on his forehand and attempted to leap around the attacking Blue Jackets center. But as Voracek stepped to his left, Dubinsky attempted to hit Voracek and clipped him with an outstretched leg: Read more

Watch Flyers’ Mason steal goal from Canucks’ Edler with diving glove save

Jared Clinton
Steve Mason (via NHL/YouTube)

Steve Mason is a long way from matching the career-best numbers he posted in 2014-15, but the Philadelphia Flyers netminder still has a knack for coming up big when the moment calls for it. Thursday night in Philadelphia, Mason had one of those moments.

The Flyers were killing a penalty late in the second period and the visiting Canucks had worked the puck to the front of the net where Mason had to make a right pad save on a spinning Alexandre Burrows. But once Mason made the save, the puck shot off of his pad right onto the stick of Vancouver blueline Alex Edler, who had the entire net to shoot at with Mason turned to defend the Burrows shot.

As Edler went to take his try at the empty net, Mason swung his body around at lightning speed, lunged over with his glove and turned aside Edler’s attempt: Read more

Five perfect landing spots for a Ryan Johansen trade

Ryan Johansen (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The time for downplaying Ryan Johansen trade rumors in Columbus is over. Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella all but cemented that by making his supposed star center a healthy scratch for Thursday night’s game in Arizona. Aaron Portzline, team beat writer and THN correspondent, confirmed the decision.

We can believe Tortorella’s claims that Johansen is “an important guy to our organization” and that Johansen will be shown video to illustrate what the team wants from him. Or we can believe that GM Jarmo Kekalainen, who openly supported the scratching, will start making trade calls on Johansen instead of just taking calls, which he was already reportedly doing.

Which teams are ideal fits for Johansen based on what they need and what they can offer the Jackets? Consider these five destinations:

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Rumor Roundup: Flyers face tough decision on Gostisbehere when Streit returns

Lyle Richardson
Shayne Gostisbehere (Getty Images)

Philadelphia Flyers rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere is making the most of his call-up to the big club. Since joining the Flyers in mid-November, the 22-year-old has 11 points in 15 games. He’s among the league’s rookie leaders in game-winning goals (three) and leads all freshman blueliners in goals.

In about two weeks, however, veteran blueliner Mark Streit and his $5.25-million cap hit comes off long-term injured reserve. Unless GM Ron Hextall can find a way to free up some cap space, he’ll have to return Gostisbehere to the minors.

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