Couture fires puck into Sharks bench, injures teammate Hertl

Jared Clinton
Hertl

If you’ve been to a hockey game at any professional level, you’ve certainly heard the announcement to always keep your eye on the puck because it travels at high speeds and can cause injury if it leaves the playing surface. San Jose Sharks winger Tomas Hertl is living proof of the damage a flying puck can do.

During Monday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets, Hertl’s teammate Logan Couture turned to a fire a puck out of the Sharks zone on a penalty kill. His accuracy was just a bit off, as the puck went zooming into the San Jose bench, striking Hertl in the face. Read more

Joe Pavelski is proving his 40-goal season was no fluke

Jared Clinton
Joe Pavelski (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The top three goal scorers in 2013-14 were Alex Ovechkin, Corey Perry, and Joe Pavelski. At first glance, it’s easy to say one of these things is not like the other, but Pavelski is proving in 2014-15 that he certainly does belong.

Pavelski, 30, has been an underrated star in for the San Jose Sharks since he broke into the league in 2006-07. The feisty winger has turned a quick release and nose for the net into becoming the Sharks go-to goal-scorer, and he’s on pace to get right back to where he was last season in his breakout year. Read more

Demotion from Ducks could spell end for Dany Heatley

Jared Clinton
Dany Heatley (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

In 2005-06, the top five goal scorers in the NHL were, in order, Jonathan Cheechoo, Jaromir Jagr, Ilya Kovalchuk, Alex Ovechkin, and Dany Heatley. If you had to pick a player that wouldn’t be able to cut it in the league eight years later, the two easiest answers don’t include a then 25-year-old Heatley.

As of noon Tuesday, however, Heatley’s days in the NHL look like they’re all but through. After a few consecutive seasons of dwindling numbers for far-too-much money, including zero points in six games with the Anaheim Ducks this season on a $1 million deal, Heatley is finds himself demoted for the first time in his career. Read more

What can the NHL do to get more fans?

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By Rudy Mezzetta

When the Predators partnered with the city of Nashville to build a new community rink – the twin-pad Ford Ice Center, which opened this fall – the goal wasn’t merely to extend the team’s brand. It was to convert new people to true hockey believers.

“Get a stick in someone’s hands and they’re a fan for life,” said Sean Henry, the Preds’ president and chief operating officer.

Growing the fan base, while ensuring existing fans stay happy, is crucial for the league. It’s a long-term commitment, said league executives, but it’s the lifeblood for the sport, and by extension, the business of the NHL. Read more

Top 10 shootout goals of 2014: Gagner’s hands reign supreme

Sam Gagner shootout winner

There’s speculation that the 2014-15 season may be the final year in which the shootout is a big part of regular season NHL contests.

With a push coming for extending overtime in order to eliminate the need for the shootout, it’s going to make the shootout specialist a lot less common and, in turn, could make top 10 lists such as this extinct in the future.

So, while we still can, here are the top 10 shootout goals of 2014: Read more

John Scott sure to be suspended for violent knockout of Tim Jackman

Jared Clinton
John Scott (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

San Jose Sharks winger John Scott is going to be opening a shiny new suspension for the holidays.

During Monday night’s game against the Anaheim Ducks, after Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen had frozen the puck, Scott came together with Anaheim winger Tim Jackman. Scott then wheeled around with his fist and caught Jackman right on the chin with a punch that knocked the 33-year-old Duck out cold. Read more

Top five teams who like to trade in first-round picks

Patrik Berglund, T.J. Oshie and Vladimir Tarasenko

With the holiday trade freeze upon us and the sprint to the trade deadline around the corner, some teams may be thinking about dealing a first-round pick to improve their chances in the new year.

First-round picks are precious currency of the salary-capped NHL. They often produce cheap, controllable young talent to complement high-priced veterans, and they’re also the most consistently valuable trading chip every team has available.

Since the 2004-05 lockout, many teams have built their rosters by wheeling and dealing in first-round picks. Sometimes a first-rounder helps seal the deal on a big-time player trade. Other times it’s compensation for a team selling off its vets at the trade deadline. And when the draft arrives in June, certain general managers love moving up or down in the first round with the help of an additional pick to sweeten the change in order.
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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