The world junior picture is beginning to clear up as the holiday classic nears. Sweden won’t get Andre Burakovsky from Washington and Canada won’t get Bo Horvat from Vancouver, but the biggest blow may be to the Russians. That’s because Nikita Zadorov has become too integral to the suddenly-hot Buffalo Sabres. The World Jr. A Challenge also has some great talent this year and it’s going on now, so let’s take a look at some of the young players we’re excited to see in the NHL one day.
World junior camps are approaching and some teams are getting excellent news already. Most recently, Canada found out that New York Rangers rookie Anthony Duclair will be loaned out, giving the host nation another speedy and dangerous offensive weapon in its arsenal. Finland must be happy that Dallas gave its blessing for Julius Honka to return, while Washington’s Andre Burakovsky is still a wait-and-see for Sweden. In the meantime, here are some of the other top prospects making noise in the hockey world.
Vancouver Canucks right winger Radim Vrbata had just one goal in his past six games – after scoring 10 in the previous 19 games – heading into Sunday’s showdown against the host Ottawa Senators. But the veteran sniper showed that patience, both from game-to-game and minute-to-minute on the ice, is a virtue that eventually gets rewarded.
Vrbata, who’d found the back of the net only once since Nov. 23, took a nice pass from teammate Ryan Stanton at center ice and broke in on Sens goalie Craig Anderson with just one Ottawa defenseman between them. The 33-year-old former Coyotes mainstay could’ve passed to another Canuck, but he found that holding onto the puck, getting Anderson to bite on an attempted poke check, and deftly twisting around him and scoring the first goal of the game was a better plan: Read more
Don’t you love it when a perfect comparison delivers itself to you on a plate?
Credit to a Reddit user named ‘Nuppa Nuppa’ for pointing this out. Alex Ovechkin played his 702nd career game this past Saturday in Toronto. In doing so, he equalled Pavel Bure’s total. So arguably the two greatest pure goal scorers of the last 25 years sat at precisely the same sample size before Ovie reached 703 games Tuesday. Lo and behold, they were just three goals apart.
Bure: 702 games, 437 goals, 779 points
Ovechkin: 702 games, 434 goals, 835 points
Those numbers leap off the page, get down on their knees and beg us to ask: who is better? ‘The Russian Rocket’ or ‘Alexander the GR8′?
Let’s break it down.
At the outset of Movember, the Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks made a friendly wager: whichever organization raised less money throughout the campaign had to take a bit of pride for the other team in the form of a blog and social media banners.
The banner shows a Canadiens fan holding up a “Go Habs Go” sign inside the Rogers Arena: Read more
As the mother of two veteran NHL players, Teresa Miller is accustomed to having her loyalties split. But she had a tougher time of things Sunday when her older son Ryan – star goalie for the Vancouver Canucks – squared off against his younger brother (and Red Wings left winger) Drew during a game in Detroit. And despite hockey’s nature as a team sport, Teresa and husband Dean would have to sit through a Miller-on-Miller individual battle of sorts when Drew had a late-game breakaway on Ryan.
It was late in the third period, with the Wings leading 4-2, when Drew broke out of Detroit’s zone with the puck and fought his way into a one-on-one showdown with Ryan. Drew had to fight off Canucks defender Luca Sbisa and couldn’t get off a clean backhand shot at his brother, but the play still had their parents on the edges of their seats: Read more
The NHL has seen a number of players this season suffer frightening run-ins with the skate blade of an opponent, and Vancouver right winger Alex Burrows was added to the list Sunday after narrowly avoiding being catastrophically injured by Detroit’s Johan Franzen.
The 33-year-old Burrows was in the Canucks’ zone and knocked down directly in front of goalie Ryan Miller in the second period when Franzen‘s right leg kicked back and up, arching underneath Burrows’ visor and cutting him just below his left eye:
You may recall, during the 2006-07 season, the NHL introduced a system by which fans could vote for several All-Star Game starters. With the handy work of a few enterprising individuals, “Vote For Rory” began – a campaign to get journeyman defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick to start in the best-on-best scrimmage. Read more