Does the NHL discipline Willie Mitchell for hitting Kris Letang with a helmet?

Josh Elliott
Florida Panthers Willie Mitchell

Tough NHLers like Willie Mitchell know how to solve their problems with their fists. So why did he grab Kris Letang‘s helmet and start hitting him with it on Saturday?

The incident happened late in the first period of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 3-1 win over Florida.

Mitchell grabbed Letang’s helmet off his head and smacked him with it as referees tried to separate the two in a melee near the Panthers net.
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Top 10 Norris candidates: Letang the leader?

Kris Letang (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

Year in and year out, one of the most heavily debated awards is the Norris Trophy.

The award given to the NHL’s most outstanding defenseman has, in recent years, had a tendency not to go simply to the best defenseman, but rather the one with the most points. At times, it feels as though the trophy should be split in two, with one award going to the defenseman with the most points and another to the best overall defenseman.

However, in our ranking of the top 10 Norris candidates, we did our best to take into account all facets of defense in hopes it gave us a true picture of the Norris race. By using the standard statistics like points, average ice time and shorthanded time on ice – a key defensive situation – mixed with advanced statistics like Corsi for, quality of competition, and defensive zone starts, the things that can help tell us which players are driving play and not just benefitting from sheltered minutes.

There are a few surprises, but for the most part, it’s the usual suspects. Read more

Top 10 Vezina candidates of 2014-15: Rinne rules

Pekka Rinne (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Goaltending can make or break a team’s season. Just ask the Edmonton Oilers, who for years have looked promising but have been unable to secure a goaltender to give them the big save they need.

You won’t find either Oilers goaltender, Ben Scrivens or Viktor Fasth, on this list of the top 10 Vezina candidates. Nor will you find Michael Hutchinson, who currently leads the league in save percentage and is second in goals-against average. The reason being Hutchinson just hasn’t had the workload, and including his numbers also put goaltenders like Colorado’s Calvin Pickard and injured St. Louis netminder Brian Elliott into the conversation.

Instead, many familiar faces are among the contenders, though not a single one has won the Vezina in their career. Read more

Penguins give Simon Despres chalk outline after he slams into boards

Jared Clinton
Despres Prank

It has been said that being a young defenseman in the NHL makes for the most difficult adjustment. The speed and skill of the opponents has increased, the game is played faster, and it also doesn’t help when you can’t make one, little mistake without having your teammates prank you.

During Monday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, 23-year-old rearguard Simon Despres made a little slip up and he’ll likely never hear the end of it. With the Penguins in the offensive zone, Despres went to fire a puck from the blueline, it was blocked, and when chasing it down he caught an edge and sent himself flying into the boards.

Some creative teammates made sure Despres could relive the moment, putting a “chalk outline” of the crime scene on the boards at the Penguins home rink, the Consol Energy Center, which you see above.

If you haven’t seen the play, you can catch it below. Read more

Report: veteran goalie Tomas Vokoun retiring after 15 NHL seasons

Tomas Vokoun (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

According to a report from a Czech publication Sunday, veteran NHL goalie Tomas Vokoun, who won 300 regular-season games over 15 seasons with five teams, is retiring at age 38.

“I think I can be proud of the career I had,” Vokoun told iSport.cz reporter Zdenek Janda, referring to accomplishments that included a 300-288-78 record, appearances in two all-star games and gold medals representing the Czech Republic at IIHF world championships in 2005 and 2010, as well as an Olympic bronze medal in 2006 and a bronze at the 2004 World Cup. Read more

Another NHLer with the mumps: Rangers’ Derick Brassard the latest to come down with a case

Derick Brassard (Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

Just a few hours after Penguins star Sidney Crosby was confirmed to have come down with a case of the mumps, the NHL had another player linked to the virus when Rangers center Derick Brassard was sent from a road trip in Edmonton back to New York City with a suspected case.

Brassard, who was the Blueshirts’ second-leading point-getter (24 in 27 games), is the 14th player of the season to show symptoms of the mumps, which was contracted by teammate Tanner Glass in November. Other players affected include New Jersey’s Travis Zajac and Adam Larsson; Anaheim’s Corey Perry, Francois Beauchemin, Clayton Stoner and Emerson Etem; and Minnesota’s Ryan Suter, Jonas Brodin, Keith Ballard, Marco Scandella and Christian Folin. Read more

From Comeau to Hemsky, cost per point helps show the most (and least) effective off-season signings

Ales Hemsky featured

When the Dallas inked Ales Hemsky to play alongside the newly acquired Jason Spezza it was heralded as a tremendous signing. So far, however, the Stars aren’t getting their money’s worth.

Following Saturday night’s game against the Devils, Hemsky has only registered eight points in 26 games and is on pace for the lowest full season point total of his career. Suffice to say, Hemsky is far short of where the Stars GM Jim Nill had likely hoped he’d see the winger’s point total. At a salary cap hit of $4 million for the next three seasons, Dallas isn’t getting the bang for their buck as they’re on pace to pay Hemsky nearly $170,000 for every point he’s on pace to score this season.

But it’s not just Hemsky, as several stars are making GMs second-guess some off-season signings. On the other hand, there are several who are far exceeding their salary expectations. Read more

Penguins make it official, Sidney Crosby sidelined with mumps

Jared Clinton
Sidney Crosby had a visibly swollen face when he met with media on Friday. (via PensTV)

Days after appearing before media with a very visibly swollen face, which led some to believe he had the mumps, Sidney Crosby is officially sidelined by the virus.

The 27-year-old Pittsburgh Penguins superstar has had his share of medical issues throughout his career, and this is yet another setback for one of the game’s best and brightest stars. Speculation began about Crosby have the illness after he missed practice on Thursday and, upon returning on Friday, had what appeared to be swollen glands. Read more