Bird’s-eye view: NHL’s Stadium Series webcam gets a surprise visitor

Adam Proteau
A crow checks out the NHL's camera inside Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. (Image via NHL/Youtube.com)

As the NHL’s Stadium Series game between the San Jose Sharks and L.A. Kings approaches, the league’s webcam documenting the building of the rink at Levi’s Stadium received a surprise visitor: a curious crow that made a brief, but memorable cameo.

The Stadium Series game – scheduled for this Saturday at the massive outdoor venue normally used by the NFL’s San Francisco 49ersis officially sold out with some 69,000 seat sold, and the NHL’s highly skilled ice crew is hard at work to ensure the event goes off without a hitch. The league had been using a stationary webcam to give fans the full view of the rink being set up, but the aforementioned crow decided to insert itself between the camera lens and the field for a handful of captivating seconds:
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Prospect Hot List: San Jose’s Swiss grinder, Noah Rod

Switzerland's Noah Rod celebrates at the world juniors (Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)

Weather permitting, Boston’s NCAA Beanpot tournament will end next week and hopefully I’ll be there. In the meantime, some more important dates were established when the CHL announced the hosts of next year’s Super Series with Russia: Kamloops, Kelowna, Owen Sound, Windsor, Rouyn-Noranda and Halifax. With that out of the way, let’s take a trip around the world of prospects.

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Report: Canucks sued over alleged “confetti cannon” incident

Adam Proteau
Rogers Arena (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

According to a new TSN.ca report, the Vancouver Canucks are being sued in British Columbia’s Supreme Court by a B.C. family whose teenaged son alleges he was injured after being struck on the head by the barrel of a roof-mounted, confetti-shooting air cannon at Rogers Arena.

Davis Baynton, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, was attending a game between the Canucks and San Jose Sharks with his parents in Vancouver on May 24, 2011 when the incident is said to have occurred. He and his family allege that, when an air cannon located near the arena’s roof fired confetti over the rink and seating areas as the game was ending, a barrel from one of the cannons came loose and struck the then-15-year-old boy in the head. The suit claims he has suffered traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic amnesia, and other cognitive issues as a result. Read more

Sharks’ star blueliner Brent Burns scores twice…in 22 seconds

Adam Proteau
Brent Burns (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

San Jose defenseman Brent Burns scored a career-best 22 goals for the Sharks last season, but in less than half-a-minute Wednesday, he scored two goals against the Washington Capitals to push him closer to that number for a second straight year.

On his first goal of the night (and 13th of the season), Burns uses a screen in front of Caps goalie Braden Holtby to fire home a shot from the point on the power play, just 21 seconds into the second period:

Twenty-two seconds after the ensuing center ice faceoff, Burns took a pass from teammate Patrick Marleau inside Washington’s blueline and wristed the puck past Holtby at the 43-second mark: Read more

Evgeni Nabokov retires as a San Jose Shark. Is he Russia’s greatest NHL goalie ever?

Matt Larkin
Evgeni Nabokov in 2009. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

It’s been a warm, classy week for the Sharks and Evgeni Nabokov. San Jose acquired ‘Nabby,’ 39, from the Tampa Bay Lightning for future considerations Monday. He officially retired Wednesday with his original NHL team at a press conference.

An emotional Nabokov expressed his gratitude toward Sharks GM Doug Wilson for the gesture of reacquiring him, and Nabokov thanked all his coaches over the years with the team, from Darryl Sutter to Ron Wilson to Todd McLellan. Nabokov tearfully praised his teammates for their support and paid tribute to his wife, Tabitha, laughing at her years of yelling profanities from the stands during games. Parents, fans, every other NHL team he played for – name the sect and Nabokov gave it a shoutout. He covered off everyone in a classy speech.

It’s only natural to review a player’s resume after he calls it quits. Sure, Nabby can’t sniff what recently retired Martin Brodeur did, but Nabby had quite a memorable career. What kind of legacy does he leave behind? Read more

Antti Niemi goes with throwback mask for Stadium Series

Jared Clinton
Antti Niemi's Stadium Series mask. (David Gunnarsson/DaveArt)

Though the outdoor games may be getting tired at this point, the goalie masks that are worn for the outings bring a little bit of flavor to each contest.

We can thank Antti Niemi for bringing a cool piece of headwear to the 2014-15 Stadium Series game between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings. Niemi, who is likely to be the starting netminder for the Sharks in the game, is going old school with an homage to the goaltenders of years passed. Read more

The 10 worst free agent signings of 2014-15

Dave Bolland's five-year, $27.5 million contract with the Florida Panthers is one of the worst UFA deals handed out. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The St. Louis Blues’ signing of Martin Brodeur didn’t turn out the way many fans would have hoped, with the legendary netminder playing some of the worst hockey of his career and then retiring once there was no longer a spot for him in the lineup.

But the signing was a calculated risk. Brodeur came cheap, was a capable backup and a teacher and mentor for young goaltender Jake Allen. Because Brodeur retired before Feb. 1, it saved the Blues from paying a roster bonus to the veteran netminder. Those are all reasons you won’t find Brodeur on this list of the worst signings of this season.

What you will find is a few players who are overpaid, contracts that are far too long, and a few gambles that simply didn’t pay off. Read more

Patrick Marleau youngest to 1,300 NHL games. Can he catch Gordie Howe?

Matt Larkin
Patrick Marleau can become hockey's all-time games played leader if he competes into his early 40s. (Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images)

Patrick Marleau has quietly churned out production for the San Jose Sharks since they drafted him second overall in 1997. Went right to the NHL and scored 32 points as an 18-year-old. Scored 20 goals 12 times, 30 goals seven times, 40 goals once. The 74 games he played as a rookie were a career low for a full season.

So, about that durability – Marleau, 35, played his 1,300th NHL game Thursday night, becoming the youngest player in history to reach that milestone. He beat Scott Stevens by 104 days. Marleau remains a consistent top-six performer, even if his game is in decline, and he’s seemingly indestructible, so we have to ask: can he pass Gordie Howe to become the sport’s all-time leader in games played?

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