Rumor Roundup: Trading Hall would do little to help Oilers long-term improvement

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

The Edmonton Oilers firing of head coach Dallas Eakins prompted speculation over potential roster changes. It’s believed Oilers management will consider all options going forward, including the possibility of trading star left wing Taylor Hall.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports of a “sagging work ethic” and lack of a winning culture among the Oilers’ players, suggesting Hall hasn’t been what the front office expected “from a culture standpoint.” Dreger believes the 23-year-old Hall will be in play in the trade market and believes the best return could be had during the summer, perhaps at the NHL Draft in June.

Oilers GM Craig MacTavish spent several weeks seeking help for his floundering roster via the trade market. During a press conference on Dec. 5, MacTavish stated he wouldn’t make any knee-jerk moves and wasn’t prepared to move his core players. Read more

Caps & Cats make history in 20 rounds during NHL’s longest-ever shootout

Nick Bjugstad scores the game-winning shootout goal on Braden Holtby. (Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

When you look at the list of shooters who took part in Tuesday’s shootout between Washington and Florida Panthers, you can be forgiven for thinking it looks like the roster lists for both teams. But it may as well be, because the two teams combined to make history, shattering the old NHL record for longest shootout by battling for 20 rounds before the Panthers emerged victorious over the Capitals by a 2-1 score.

The previous record for longest shootout was the 15-round showdown between the Caps and New York Rangers on Nov. 26, 2005 and two Washington players – Alex Ovechkin and Brooks Laich – can now lay claim to having taken part in the longest and second-longest shootouts. Tuesday’s marathon session lasted a whopping 17:43, and saw the Capitals score five goals, only to have the Panthers reply with five of their own to extend the shootout to Round 20. At that point, Florida center Nick Bjugstad stepped up and beat Washington goalie Braden Holtby to win it for the home team, give the Panthers their 13th win of the season and push them ahead of the Bruins for the final wild card berth.

Here’s video of the entire shootout. Be sure to pack a lunch and hydrate regularly once you begin watching. Read more

Report: veteran goalie Tomas Vokoun retiring after 15 NHL seasons

Tomas Vokoun (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

According to a report from a Czech publication Sunday, veteran NHL goalie Tomas Vokoun, who won 300 regular-season games over 15 seasons with five teams, is retiring at age 38.

“I think I can be proud of the career I had,” Vokoun told iSport.cz reporter Zdenek Janda, referring to accomplishments that included a 300-288-78 record, appearances in two all-star games and gold medals representing the Czech Republic at IIHF world championships in 2005 and 2010, as well as an Olympic bronze medal in 2006 and a bronze at the 2004 World Cup. Read more

Forget Mike Babcock speculation: Focus on Tyler Myers

Tyler Myers  (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Mike Babcock is vehemently denying rumors he’s on the verge of re-upping with the Detroit Red Wings as the highest-paid coach in the NHL and GM Ken Holland isn’t saying much of anything one way or the other. So where does that leave us? Well, your trusty correspondent is inclined to believe that before long, Babcock will sign in Detroit and continue his outstanding coaching career in Detroit.

From what I’ve been told, the one factor more than anything that was important to Babcock was whether or not the Red Wings have an opportunity to be a contending team for the long-term. During the Red Wings prospect tournament in Traverse City, I had a long talk with Holland after we picked the Red Wings to miss the playoffs and even he acknowledged the fans were beginning to ask questions.

“Has he lost his touch?” Holland asked rhetorically. “Is he a doofus?” Read more

Bure and Ovechkin: 702 games, three goals apart. Who’s better?

Alexander Ovechkin equalled Pavel Bure's career games played last weekend, and their numbers are remarkably similar. (Getty Images)

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.

Read more

There will be bumps in the road, but Holtby an emerging star for Washington

The Hockey News
Braden Holtby (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

By Craig Hagerman

Braden Holtby wasn’t simply handed the role as the Washington Capitals starting netminder. No, he had to earn it.

Though he may have had a less than impressive outing against the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night, allowing three goals on 12 shots after coming in for relief for Justin Peters in the second period and then being replaced to begin the third, the Lloydminster, Sask. native is still unquestionably Washington’s go to guy between the pipes. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Blueliners plentiful in upcoming UFA crop

Marc Staal (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

ESPN.com’s Craig Custance recently listed his top-20 NHL unrestricted free agents for 2015. What’s notable about Custance’s list, apart from the lack of genuine superstar talent in next summer’s UFA market, is that it’s dominated by defensemen.

The notables include Anaheim’s Francois Beauchemin, Boston’s Adam McQuaid, Carolina’s Andrej Sekera, Chicago’s Johnny Oduya, Pittsburgh’s Christian Ehrhoff and Paul Martin, Toronto’s Cody Franson,Washington’s Mike Green, the Rangers’ Marc Staal and the Islanders’ Johnny Boychuk. Read more

Once again, Alex Ovechkin does what he does best – score eye-popping goals

Alex Ovechkin (Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin has built a mile-long list of highlight reel goals – and he added some more footage to the collection with a dazzling, nearly end-to-end rush against the Colorado Avalanche Thursday that was the deciding marker in a 3-2 Washington victory.

The Caps’ captain picked up the puck at his own blueline, swiftly carried it down the ice, deked Avs defenseman Jan Hejda and tried to fire the puck on his backhand at Colorado goalie Reto Berra; the puck went past the net, but it rebounded right back to him, and Ovechkin made no mistake from close range on his forehand, even at a difficult angle and Hejda on his heels: Read more