By Monday, Feb. 2, Punxsutawney Phil, the most famous groundhog of them all, will emerge to let North America know whether or not to expect six more weeks of hockey weather. The day before, however, Hershey Bears fans can get a glimpse of what an early spring or longer winter could look like.
For the Bears’ Feb. 1 showdown with the Norfolk Admirals, the team will don special Groundhog Day jerseys, which will go up for auction following the game. The jerseys, which are good for a laugh, are split from front to back: the front has six more weeks of winter, while the back shows the groundhog living large during spring.
At the All-Star Game’s Hardest Shot Competition, many thought the players to watch were Dustin Byfuglien and Shea Weber, but it was Alex Ovechkin who surprised, landing himself in second place with a 101 MPH blast.
He put that cannon on display Wednesday night and took the NHL’s goal scoring lead in the process. With less than three minutes left in the second frame, and the Capitals on the power play, Ovechkin received a Mike Green no-look pass right in his wheelhouse and turned on it. Blink and you’ll miss Ovechkin’s 29th goal of the season hit the back of the net. Read more
If you don’t know by now the NHL’s points system is essentially a competitive funhouse mirror designed to give more teams the appearance they’ve got a shot at a playoff spot, you should. The league has, to the credit of its business acumen, recognized more teams can sell tickets to fans deeper into their regular-seasons if those fans see the teams are only four or five points out of a post-season berth; now, there’s very likely a very slim chance that team can leapfrog a bunch rivals playing each other down the stretch for one of the last playoff positions, but that’s not the point. It’s a mirage of sorts, and it works.
But the way things are shaping up in the Eastern Conference this year, not even the “loser point” looks like it’s going to create the illusion of competitiveness between the teams that make the post-season and the ones that don’t. Of course, most teams still have approximately 35 games to play, so you can’t be sure about anything just yet, but with the trade deadline set for March 2, it’s starting to look like the East’s eight non-playoff teams are going to serve as a feeder system for the much tighter West. Read more
Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was getting the business at the NHL All-Star Game in Columbus for surrendering seven goals on 16 shots, but that game meant nothing. And in his first regular-season game since All-Star weekend, Fleury was showing the form that got him named an all-star in the first place, robbing Washington’s Michael Latta of what would’ve been a highlight reel goal.
Latta split the Penguins’ defense and looked like he was about to deke Fleury out of his equipment, but the veteran netminder jutted out his left leg just enough to stop the puck from crossing the goal line: Read more
The busy season continues, with lots to report on in the prospect world. The CHL Top Prospects Game was last week, while the North American League Prospects Tournament field was just announced. Toss in the American League’s All-Star Game and there’s a lot to cover off, so let’s look at some of the kids we’re excited to see in the NHL one day.
You wouldn’t have been wrong if it seemed like a joke at first. Alex Ovechkin, one of the game’s wealthiest players, wanting to be picked last so he could score a free car? Couldn’t he just go out and buy a handful of them if he so wished?
Well, it turns out that it wasn’t a joke at all. Ovechkin did want the car and it wasn’t about the money or the car itself so much as it was about giving a gift to someone who could really use it. Read more
COLUMBUS – Phil Kessel was in a good mood. Sure, he was part of the first-ever All-Star Game fantasy draft trade, but it was all in the right spirit. Because of course Kessel was traded for Tyler Seguin, the same player he was swapped for in the NHL back in 2009.
Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin has been a central force in Washington’s success thus far this season, and even in a losing cause Tuesday against the Oilers, the Russian star showed his force is sometimes too much for goal cameras when he’s blasting pucks in nets.
The 29-year-old Ovechkin had already scored once in front of his home crowd Tuesday when, on the power play, he drilled a shot from the circle and beat Edmonton goalie Viktor Fasth for his 27th goal of the year. Unfortunately for the goal camera, Ovechkin really got all of the puck: Read more