From Miller to Malkin, the best of the early season streaks

Winnipeg's Ondrej Pavelec (Photo by Lance Thomson/NHLI via Getty Images)

Under new coach Bill Peters, the Hurricanes stumbled out of the gate and lost their first nine games before finally getting Peters his first NHL win. Just when they seemed poised for that first victory, they’d have it snatched out from under their feet. It wasn’t great to watch.

But there are some of the best streaks. This is not a list of futility, but rather a list of incredible stretches from the first month of the 2014-15 season: Read more

Taylor Hall injured, Andrew Ference could be suspended; Oilers need an exorcism

Adam Proteau
Taylor Hall (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Edmonton Oilers began the year looking painfully inept, but had recently saved face (and perhaps the employment of coach Dallas Eakins) with a four-game win streak. However, because no good news seems to go unpunished with this franchise of late, that positivity was soon to disappear: the first sign of trouble’s return came when goalie Ben Scrivens made a sub-par clearing attempt that led to the game-winning, shorthanded goal in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Vancouver; and in the same game, they lost star winger Taylor Hall for 2-4 weeks with a sprained knee. Hall is Edmonton’s leading scorer (six goals and 10 points in 11 games) and his absence on a team that’s mediocre on offense (a 16th-best 2.64 goals-for per game average) could devastate any hope the Oilers have of climbing out of the depths of the Western Conference.

It’s easy to say Edmonton will have to tighten up on defense, but that might also be a little more difficult after Saturday: captain and veteran defenseman Andrew Ference is facing a possible suspension for attempting to de-head Canucks agitator Zack Kassian.

If you’re an Oilers fan, aren’t you asking yourself if the fates are conspiring against your favorite players and the larger management team owner Daryl Katz has assembled? Read more

Worst NHL penalty of the season? Oh yeah. Definitely.

Luke Glendening and Karl Alzner (Getty Images)

Each NHL season has its share of botched calls from referees. We know going in that, as mere mortals, they’re bound to make errors trying to make sense of a lightning-fast game. However, some blown calls are so egregious, they stand out for years afterward. And one of those calls went down Wednesday night during the game between the Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings. As a matter of fact, this might not have been one of the worst penalty calls of the year. It might be the worst in NHL history.

It was early in the first period in Washington when Capitals goalie Braden Holtby left his crease and went behind the net. As he tried to get back into position, Holtby tripped over his own skates – and the Red Wings pounced immediately, with Drew Miller grabbing the puck and firing it into the Caps’ net.

However – and inexplicably – the officiating duo of Mike Leggo and Ghislain Hebert decided the goal would not count and that Wings center Luke Glendening deserved a goalie interference penalty. As you can see, he deserved nothing of the sort: Read more

The Hot List: Dylan Strome is burning up the 2015 draft charts

Erie's Dylan Strome (Photo by B Wippert/Getty Images)

Is it too early for world junior speculation? Never! Unfortunately, the speculation comes at the expense of Team USA hopeful Steven Santini. The New Jersey prospect has been sidelined with a wrist injury that will keep him out of the tournament, but there may be a name or two below who can pick up the slack. Check out this week’s round-up of who to know in the world of prospects.

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Canucks team-building exercises provide treasure trove of laughs

Jared Clinton
CanucksTeambuilding

In almost any job, there will be a time when you’re expected to undertake a few team-building exercises. Often filled with a fair share of embarrassing moments, it’s a good thing there isn’t ever a camera around.

Thankfully, however, there was one pinned on the Vancouver Canucks during their team-building exercises recently. Be it the shootout competition, an odd land mine exercise, or what assistant coach Perry Pearn refers to as “the skis” – you’ll understand when you see it – CanucksTV caught the whole thing on tape: Read more

Alberta-bound Carey Price desperately needs a change in western fortunes

Carey Price (Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

Carey Price may have been a competitive calf roper when he was younger, but as soon as he steps on the ice in Alberta, he plays as though it’s his first rodeo. And if the Montreal Canadiens want to continue their white-hot start to the season, that’s going to have to change in a hurry.

So the most important person on the Montreal Canadiens as they head into a western Canadian road trip in first place in the Eastern Conference might be goaltending coach Stephane Waite. The man who has been most responsible for altering Carey Price’s mental approach to games could have to do some major psychological massaging on Price this week. Read more

Canucks’ Zack Kassian saves too many men call by joining the Blues

Jared Clinton
(Photo by Glenn James/NHL)

There’s never been any doubt that hockey players, like all professional athletes, will do anything they can to help their team to victory.

Be it lying down in front of blistering slapshots, taking a monster body check to make a play, or pulling out some teeth to stay on the bench, hockey players want to make a difference for their team. The last thing they want to do is provide the opposition with a costly power play or make a mistake that their teammates have to pay for.

All of these things could help explain why Zack Kassian became a temporary member of the St. Louis Blues bench on Thursday night: Read more

It’s feast or famine – beat them or beat it – for NHL coaches these days

Peter Laviolette (Getty Images)

The coaching business in the NHL is about to get crazier thanks to the pending free agency of Red Wings bench boss Mike Babcock, who almost assuredly will set a new record for a coach’s salary whether he stays in Detroit or moves on to a new place of employment. So, that has to mean better times are ahead for all coaches, right? A whole, “rising-tide-lifts-all-boats” thing, right?

Not so fast. Because although Babcock’s pending spike in pay may very well result in higher salaries for more members of the coaching fraternity, there’s other forces at play here: the increasingly rapid turnover of coaches at the NHL level – and this year, the early success of most off-season coaching changes.

There were six such changes in hockey’s best league this summer. Let’s take a brief look at how they’re working out: In Nashville, Peter Laviolette has the Predators off to a 5-0-2 start (including a big 3-2 win over Chicago Thursday) that makes them the last team in the league without a loss in regulation. In Washington, former Predators coach Barry Trotz has steered the Capitals to a strong showing out of the gate (just one loss in regulation in six games) and his relationship with star winger Alex Ovechkin is beginning on the right foot. In Pittsburgh, Mike Johnston is working with a significantly rejigged roster, but the Penguins have points in four of their first six games and should be fine. In Vancouver, Willie Desjardins has reinvigorated a Canucks squad that had been wholly deinvigorated under John Tortorella.

Things aren’t working out that well for all the new coaches. Read more