With a wild trade deadline in the books and playoffs on the horizon, now begins the season of hope for many NHL teams. Deadline buyers hope they’ve strengthened themselves enough for the final push. Teams that stood pat believe they already have the right mix to finish strong. And teams on the bubble are already playing desperate hockey, hoping one last hard charge is all it takes to get in.
It’s been done before, and it can happen again. Here are the best post-trade deadline surges of the last four seasons.
By Alexander Liepold
The NHL experienced somewhat of an offensive revival after the full-season lockout of 2004-05. The league hadn’t had a player reach the 100-point plateau for three of the previous five seasons. Concerted efforts were made to cut down on the obstruction that was plaguing the game to open it back up and put more emphasis on speed and skill.
Now, the game is faster than it has ever been, allowing skilled players the freedom to showcase their talents. This has made for a more exciting product than the clutch-and-grab era. So who are the top 10 NHL point-getters since the game got this breath of fresh air? All of the usual suspects are there, but some of the names that made the list (or just missed) might surprise you.
1. Alex Ovechkin: 657 games, 412 goals, 386 assists, 798 points
Not a surprise to see Ovechkin atop this list. Despite his offensive numbers taking a decline in the past four years, Ovechkin still sits pretty comfortably at No. 1. His 412 goals are 115 more than the next closest on the list. Read more
The 2014 Sochi Olympic hockey tournament didn’t have the most dramatic conclusion, but it still had some great moments and compelling games. No Latvian fan will soon forget their team’s close fight with the Canadian giant, just as no Slovenian fan will ever forget their country’s first (and second) win in Olympic hockey.
There were also many tremendous individual performances as well and that’s the focus of today’s list. Who were the top 10 players of the 2014 Olympic men’s hockey tournament?
1. Carey Price
Coming into the tournament most of the concern around Canada’s overseas medal hopes surrounded the goaltending position. The nation had struggled between the pipes at various international events between the 2010 and 2014 Games and there was no clear-cut favorite to carry the load as Canada’s No. 1. But in stepped Price, who allowed only one goal in the playoff round and earned back-to-back shutouts in the semifinal and final to earn Olympic gold. His .971 save percentage was the best of all Olympic No. 1′s, as was his ridiculous 0.59 GAA. Sure Price had help from a stifling defense in front of him, but he never erred and finished with mind-boggling totals. Canada’s larger problem in net still isn’t solved, but for these two weeks goaltending was a strength.
2. Erik Karlsson
The driving force of Sweden’s depleted offence, Karlsson scored at least one point in every game until the gold medal final. He was named top defenseman of the tournament and was three points better than the second-highest scorer on his team, Daniel Sedin. The 20 shots he registered also ranked tops among all defensemen and was fifth among all players. Read more
Simple mathematics tells us that each year in the NHL 97 percent of the teams won’t achieve ultimate glory and 73 percent won’t even win a playoff round. So it stands to reason the large majority of franchises will deem their seasons failures more often than not.
But there are a handful of clubs who’ve defied even these stacked odds, perpetually disappointing, typically by teasing, only to fall short. Yet again. They’re the teams that make their supporters experience cruel and unusual torture.
Here are our picks for the 10 worst-suffering fans bases in the NHL.
With the Olympic hockey tournament around the corner, NHL superstars are itching to get to Sochi to start the dream of eventually wearing a gold medal around their necks.
With Olympic hockey just over a week away, NHL fans and players are getting set for an all-star international tournament. If the entertainment value is anywhere near the level of what we witnessed in Vancouver in 2010, we’re in for a treat, as the Vancouver tournament was some of the most compelling hockey ever played. Read more
Everyone loves a “beating the odds” story. And odds are, by the time a hockey player’s 35th birthday has passed, his production has slowed considerably, giving him more time between shifts to contemplate investment opportunities or a broadcasting career. But there’s always a few gifted impact players who seem to barely slow down with age. Here’s the top-10 point-getters over 35 this season. Read more
Earlier this week, Henrik Sedin’s ironman streak of consecutive games played ended at 679 games, an impressive feat that showcased just how durable the Swedish center is.
Not only did Sedin play in a lengthy number of consecutive games, but he’s also played 1,063:02 of total ice time so far this season, which despite being an impressive number actually falls behind brother Daniel (1,123:52) and Canucks’ teammates Chris Tanev (1,088:53), Jason Garrison (1,114:56), Ryan Kesler (1,153:32) and Dan Hamhuis (1,279:54).