17 years later, punk band The Hextalls keep playing with heart

Sal Barry
The Hextalls have spent 17 years together making lighthearted punk music. (Marc Gaertner)

“Ranger danger! Have another beer! Never trust a girl in a Richter jersey!” croons Devin Hextall, front man of the pop punk band The Hextalls on “I Don’t Wanna be a New York Ranger.” It’s a catchy, funny song about a Flyers fan who goes to a game at Madison Square Garden, gets lost in the lobby while buying beer, then finds his date making out with a Rangers fan.

Hockey, beer and relationship angst are just some of the irreverent topics that have been a staple of The Hextalls’ songs for the past 17 years. Their newest album, Play With Heart, will be released Feb.14 and is available on Amazon, iTunes and their website, TheHextalls.com. The album includes a song about Sergei Bobrovsky called “Who’s the #1 Cop?” Read more

Five most expensive healthy scratches this season

Vincent Lecavalier

There’s no shortage of ill-advised contracts in the NHL. Most teams have at least one player earning more money than his contributions warrant. But while it’s disappointing to watch a $4-million player toil on the fourth line or third defensive pair, that disappointment reaches new levels when the player becomes a healthy scratch – when he’s getting paid not to play.

A coach’s greatest weapon is his ability to control his players’ ice time, and sometimes, sitting an under-performing millionaire is the perfect way to get him motivated.

Other times, becoming a healthy scratch simply signals that a player is on the down side of his career.

Either way, a healthy scratch inherently sparks questions about a player’s future. Is he on the trading block? Will he walk as a free agent this summer? Is his career in jeopardy? And how is the team going to deal with his big-money contract?

Here are the most expensive players to draw a pay check from the press box this season.
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Flyers’ Zac Rinaldo suspended eight games for charging, boarding Pens’ Kris Letang

Adam Proteau
Zac Rinaldo (Getty Images)

The NHL’s department of player safety Monday suspended Flyers winger Zac Rinaldo eight games – a career-best, or a career-worst, depending on how you look at it – for charging and boarding Penguins defenseman Kris Letang in a Jan. 20 game.

This is the 24-year-old Rinaldo’s third NHL suspension and it’s double the number of games he received in April for taking out Sabres defenseman Chad Ruhwedel. He’s a repeat offender likely to repeat again after this, and everyone knows it. If the league was truly intent on creating the safest possible working environment, it would punish team owners, GMs and coaches for every wanton act performed by a professional agitator such as Rinaldo. But the absence of such a punishment system speaks volumes. Read more

How I won a cool 360 bucks at the All-Star Game

Patrice Bergeron (left) and John Tavares  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

COLUMBUS – Your trusty correspondent has a new favorite player and his name is John Tavares. Any player who can make a contribution to the kids’ education funds, or to the post All-Star Game beer fund, is worthy of my admiration.

My keen eye for talent conspired with Tavares’ brilliant scoring skill to win me a cool $360 (in inflated U.S. funds, no less!) in the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association All-Star Game pool. Ryan Johansen may have left with a new car, but yours truly probably has enough money to buy a couple of tires. Read more

Giroux scores ‘missing puck’ OT winner to down Penguins

Jared Clinton

It has been a strange couple of days for overtime heroics.

On Monday, Calgary’s Dennis Wideman scored a goal that went in and out so fast he was the only one who knew he scored. Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux followed that up on Tuesday by netting the overtime winner after the puck almost magically disappeared into the equipment of Pittsburgh goaltender Thomas Greiss. Have a look for yourself: Read more

Suspend him or not: Flyers’ Zac Rinaldo boards Penguins’ Kris Letang

Adam Proteau
Zac Rinaldo (Getty Images)

Like recently-suspended Hawks winger Daniel Carcillo, Flyers winger Zac Rinaldo has made an NHL career out of playing “on the edge” – and implicit in that phrase has long been the understanding he occasionally goes over that edge. So when he once again crossed the line Tuesday by drilling Penguins defenseman Kris Letang into the boards from behind, not a single brow league-wide was raised in surprise: Read more

Goalies scoring goals: a fluky and fabulous history

Mike Smith scores

Reto Berra joined some heady company on Friday when he scored a goal by shooting the puck down the ice in an AHL game. It’s a rare occasion when a goalie gets credit for the other team scoring on their own net, but it’s even rarer for a goalie to actually score on a shot.

It’s such a tremendous freak occurrence that each instance is a footnote in the history books.

Fourteen goalies have received credit for scoring a goal in NHL history, but only seven of those goals were scored by a goalie who actually shot the puck down the ice.

In honour of Berra’s great goal (and even greater celebration), here’s a look at those goals.

Note: If they sound repetitive, they are. The goalie’s team gets a two-goal lead, the goalie stops a dump-in, the goalie throws it over everyone’s heads and hits the net at the other end.

And yet it never gets old.
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Backchecking: Tommy Soderstrom

The Hockey News
(Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

By Ty Dilello

When you think of Tommy Soderstrom, the first thing you remember is the big Jofa helmet and cage he wore. This was a goaltender who never put tape on the blade of his stick and was known to keep his whole body inside his net when the play was away from him.

The seemingly quirky Swedish netminder, though, felt he was incredibly normal. Former teammate Kevin Dineen once said, “He’s the most relaxed goalie I’ve ever seen. Nothing rattles him.”

So maybe the quirk about this goalie was that he was normal, which is abnormal for a goalie. Read more