Prospect Hot List: Christian Fischer’s connection to the Tkachuks

Team USA's Christian Fischer (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

Well, I’m writing this week’s Hot List in Toronto because the Beanpot tournament in Boston was postponed due to weather. Not fun, but at least I can try again in two weeks. In the meantime, the Five Nations tournament just wrapped up in the Czech Republic, with Russia winning and Team USA boasting the highest scorers in Matthew Tkachuk (Keith’s kid) and Jack Roslovic. Below you’ll find some of the best performers from that shindig plus other prospects from around the hockey world.

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The 10 strangest injuries of the 2014-15 season

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

On Sunday night, Philadelphia Flyers netminder Steve Mason went down with an injury during a TV timeout. It could very well have been the reaggravation of an earlier ailment, but it simply looks like the Philadelphia goaltender just had awful luck.

And strange injuries have been one of the big stories this season. Even when it’s not a strange injury, in some cities players are heading to the injured list at such a rate that it makes one wonder what’s in the water. So, in what has been an odd season for injuries, here are the 10 strangest: Read more

Top five trade destinations for Jets star Evander Kane

Evander Kane (Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Jets Thursday placed Evander Kane on Injured Reserve retroactive to Feb. 2, but after the revelations of discord in the dressing room between the winger and other members of the team, the winger may have played his final game in a Winnipeg uniform.

If that’s true and Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff pulls the trigger on an off-season deal that sends Kane out of town, what teams would be the best fit for him? Here’s our best guess:

5. Boston Bruins. The veteran-laden Bruins are in win-now mode, and their struggles to score could be addressed in the summer with a deal for Kane. To work under the salary cap, the deal would almost certainly need to include someone (say, a Brad Marchand), but in a major city like Boston, Kane could disappear away from the rink and use that relative anonymity to get back to the 30-goal plateau he reached in 2011-12. Read more

NFL has Deflategate, did the NHL have Coffeegate?

Denis Potvin and Wayne Gretzky shake hands following the 1984 Stanley Cup final. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

It’s a well-worn adage in sports that if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.

As we sit back and watch the NFL’s Deflategate with a certain amount of schadenfreude, we should be careful not to let our smug meter edge too high. Hockey isn’t as lily white as the surface it plays on.

We needn’t look beyond the NHL’s decision this season to punish divers, by outing them, for Exhibit A. If pretending to be fouled, or embellishing an act to draw an advantage isn’t unethical, it’s certainly uncool.

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Pens’ Marc-Andre Fleury robs Caps’ Michael Latta of highlight-reel goal

Adam Proteau
Marc-Andre Fleury (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was getting the business at the NHL All-Star Game in Columbus for surrendering seven goals on 16 shots, but that game meant nothing. And in his first regular-season game since All-Star weekend, Fleury was showing the form that got him named an all-star in the first place, robbing Washington’s Michael Latta of what would’ve been a highlight reel goal.

Latta split the Penguins’ defense and looked like he was about to deke Fleury out of his equipment, but the veteran netminder jutted out his left leg just enough to stop the puck from crossing the goal line: Read more

Penguins trade Marcel Goc to Blues for Max Lapierre in a curious deal for more grit

Adam Proteau
Marcel Goc (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is known around the NHL to be fond of working well in advance of the NHL trade deadline, so news he had made another move Tuesday night was not terribly surprising. What was, though, was the deal he made, sending useful center Marcel Goc to St. Louis in exchange for rugged center Maxim Lapierre.

The 31-year-old Goc, who came to Pittsburgh late last season from Florida, had become a dependable penalty-killer under coach Mike Johnston – he led the team’s forwards in average PK time (3:00) in 43 games this year – and Blues coach Ken Hitchcock will be licking his chops looking forward to utilizing him. Coming to the Penguins in return is the 29-year-old Lapierre, who was averaging only 10:21 per game in St. Louis. He’s spent time on the Blues’ PK, but he’s clearly coming over to give the Pens more toughness and edge. Read more

Whoops – Penguins game program bungles Sidney Crosby’s name

Adam Proteau
Sidney Crosby (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

Anyone who has worked in journalism long enough knows that, despite the best efforts of all involved, mistakes happen – and they’ve certainly happened here at THN. So it’s easy to empathize with the error Pittsburgh Post-Gazette hockey reporter Seth Rorabaugh discovered on the cover of the Penguins’ game program distributed before the Pens’ tilt against Winnipeg Tuesday night.

That said, to call it glaring is to understate it. They got the captain’s name wrong.

Yes, Pens star Sidney Crosby’s given name was misspelled. Read more

Don’t rip Sidney Crosby for missing the All-Star Game – he gives more than enough of himself

Adam Proteau
Sidney Crosby  (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

Let me see if I’ve got this straight: Sidney Crosby was selfish for missing the NHL’s All-Star Game weekend? It wasn’t enough that he was injured, and would have to sit out the Penguins’ first game after the break – he wasn’t there to shake hands and kiss babies, and that’s all the evidence we need of his moral turpitude? Is that what we’re going with?

If so, one question: just how much of Crosby’s time – or any athlete’s time – is the public entitled to? Who do we think we are, and when did we decide a star’s every waking moment was going to be ours? Why do some of us think there’s a string to be pulled in each player’s back, and all we need to do is stretch that string back, let it snap into place between his shoulder blades, and sit back as they perform for our enjoyment?

This is what I’m talking about: the NHL just announced the return of its World Cup of Hockey in 2016, adding another event to an already-overpacked calendar for its best players. As it is, between the conclusion of the Stanley Cup playoffs in mid-June and the kickoff of NHL training camps in early September, those players have only a handful of weeks to themselves and their families before they’re back on a sheet of ice somewhere or training in a gym. With another destination for Crosby now in 2016, he’ll be busier than ever.

The NHL Awards. The Olympics. The Winter Classic. The list never ends, and because he’s involved with all high-profile events, a player of Crosby’s stature opens up his life to the public at virtually every turn. He’s been in the spotlight since he was a seven-year-old phenom in Nova Scotia. This is to say nothing of his promotional efforts for the team and the NHL’s annual media tour, his endorsement work that also helps the community, and of course, the time he gives to charity.

Does this sound like an individual hoarding their time from the fans and the world around them? How can anyone rationally argue Crosby hasn’t been an incredible ambassador for the sport? Read more