Alex Ovechkin burns Devils defense, scores highlight-reel goal

Jared Clinton
Alex Ovechkin (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Believe it or not, this is the 10th season of Alex Ovechkin’s career. But if you think that means the ‘Great 8’ is slowing down, you couldn’t be more wrong.

With the Washington Capitals and New Jersey Devils tied 2-2 in the third period, Ovechkin picked the puck up in his own zone, broke up the ice with a head of steam and scored exactly the type of highlight-reel goal that put him on the map early in his career.

Streaking down the left wing, Ovechkin faked to the inside, slipped the puck between his own legs and darted around Devils defenseman John Moore. With about 10 feet of ice between Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid and Ovechkin, the Capitals sniper swung the puck back to his forehand and roofed it over Kinkaid’s glove: Read more

Watch Alex Ovechkin absolutely smash two one-time power play goals

Jared Clinton
Alex Ovechkin (G. Flume/Getty Images)

When Alex Ovechkin stepped into the NHL as a 20-year-old, he found his way onto highlight reels with his cannon of a slapshot and blazing speed. Now 30, Ovechkin isn’t showing even the slightest signs of age. If anything, his one-timer may have even picked up some speed over the years. And Sunday night, he used his lethal one-timer to terrorize New York Islanders netminders Thomas Greiss and Stephon Williams.

Of course, both of Ovechkin’s tallies came on the power play, with him finding his position at the top of the left-wing circle in the offensive zone. On the first of his two tallies, Ovechkin took a perfect cross-ice feed from Evgeny Kuznetsov. Listen to the sound of Ovechkin connecting with the puck, which sounds like a firecracker went off: Read more

Crosby versus Ovechkin: who’s better, 10 years later?

Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/NHLI via Getty Images)

It will be 10 years this week since Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin debuted in the NHL. The 2004-05 lockout produced the happy accident of two No. 1 overall picks commencing their careers simultaneously and, fair or not, they were destined for constant comparison. It didn’t matter that they played different positions, Crosby center and Ovechkin left wing. They were the most exciting young forces in a league desperate for new flag bearers, and they’ve delivered on that hype time and again.

Who’s better? The pendulum seems to swing back and forth year to year:

It’s Ovechkin, the big, fast, energetic man-child who helps Russia to world junior gold and goes first overall in the 2004 draft.

No, it’s Crosby, the generational talent who torches major junior like no player since Eric Lindros and goes first overall in 2005.

No, it’s ‘Ovie,’ the 2005-06 Calder Trophy winner. He outscores Crosby with 52 goals, many of them with jaw-dropping beauty.

No, damn it, it’s ‘Sid the Kid.’ He explodes for 120 points as a 19-year-old sophomore to win the Art Ross and Hart Trophies in 2006-07. Youngest MVP in league history. Youngest scoring champion in major professional sports history.

Come on. It’s Ovechkin. Sid sits out with a bum ankle for a large chunk of 2007-08 while ‘Alexander the GR8’ becomes the first player to score 65 goals in 12 years. He wins two straight MVPs.

Crosby’s turn. The pair face off in the 2009 Eastern Conference semifinal between Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins and Ovechkin’s Washington Capitals. Both stars notch hat tricks in Game 2. The best player torch passes back to Crosby, whose Penguins play for the Stanley Cup for the second straight year and this time take it home. He’s the youngest captain in league history to hoist the chalice. A year later? Golden goal in overtime at the Vancouver Games to crown Canada Olympic champion.

Then it’s Ovechkin again, by default. His game slips under coach Dale Hunter, but at least Ovechkin is on the ice. Crosby misses bushels of games with concussion woes. He plays just 63 times from 2010-11 to 2011-12. His career is in jeopardy. Ovechkin scores 32 goals in an abbreviated 48-game season, and 2012-13 yields his third MVP.

Surprise: it’s Crosby again. He’s back healthy. He wins the 2013-14 scoring crown by 17 points. Another MVP. Ovechkin answers in 2014-15 with his second straight 50-goal campaign and fifth Rocket Richard Trophy.

And on it goes.

After a decade of constantly mentioning them in the same breath, where does the debate rest? Does one finally have an edge over the other? And is the answer still relevant as they approach the end of their primes?

Read more

T.J. Oshie shows off ridiculous shootout skills, shakes Eddie Lack with incredible move

Jared Clinton
TJ Oshie (via Monumental Network/Washington Capitals)

The Capitals’ swap with the Blues, which saw Troy Brouwer head west in exchange T.J. Oshie, was a deal made primarily to give Washington a top-line right winger with a bit more offensive talent. But in landing Oshie, the Capitals also managed to acquire one of the most effective shootout weapons in the game. Wednesday night, he showed why he’s heralded as one of the game’s most lethal breakaway players.

In the pre-season tilt between Carolina and Washington, regulation solved nothing and the teams played through overtime without either side breaking the draw. With the shootout underway, Oshie was the first Capital to get an attempt, and he made no mistake. Read more

The Metropolit Brothers: one pro hockey player, one convicted felon

Glen Metropolit (Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s a sunny summer morning in Toronto and Glen Metropolit is back home. Well, not exactly. Home is actually a little west of the Starbucks where he’s sitting. To be in an upscale coffee shop at all has to be considered a triumph for him. That’s because Glen grew up in a neighborhood called Regent Park, which was one of the most notorious and densely populated projects in Canada.

Constructed in the late 1940s, it was established to narrow the divide between the poor and the well off. The social experiment ended in disaster. Just a stone’s throw from the financial district where billions of dollars flow every day, Regent Park was once described by a local newspaper this way: “Living here is like getting kicked in the teeth.” The area has been gentrified in recent years and now includes mixed income housing, but back in the day it epitomized the dead end street for the disenfranchised. Glen’s 83-year-old grandmother still lives in Regent Park, but when he comes back to visit in the summer he couch surfs at the homes and apartments of his old friends in the area. He’s used to that, since he moved about 50 times when he was a kid, by his estimation, including foster homes.

Glen’s cellphone rings as he sips his coffee. It’s his younger half-brother, Troy Metropolit. As the two make plans, Glen says his brother’s name at the end of every sentence. “So, what time are you free, Troy?” “Should I pick you up at your girlfriend’s place, Troy?” The name sounds foreign coming from his mouth, given Glen just saw his brother in June for the first time in 16 years, when he was 25 and Troy 22.

“I can’t believe I can just pick up the phone and talk to him whenever I want to,” he says. Read more

Eddie Lack absolutely robs Jakub Vrana with toe save in pre-season action

Jared Clinton
Eddie Lack makes a toe save on Jakub Vrana (via NHL/YouTube)

For the third consecutive season, goaltender Eddie Lack is entering the season as one of the better backup goaltenders in the league but has a veteran starter who he’ll have to beat out if he wants the No. 1 job. If style points count for anything, Lack might have gotten himself a slight lead on Hurricanes starter Cam Ward to start the pre-season.

Early in the second frame of Carolina’s pre-season opener against the Washington Capitals, Lack was caught moving the opposite direction on a beautiful pass across the ice by Stanislav Galiev to Jakub Vrana. With Lack out of position, the 19-year-old Vrana patiently pulled the puck across the crease and opened up the entire right side of the goal.

But with nothing but daylight to slide the puck into, Lack stretched out his massive 6-foot-4 frame and got his left leg out in time to stifle Vrana’s attempt: Read more

AHL Logo Ranking: No. 1 – Hershey Bears

Jared Clinton
Hershey Bears logo ( Creamer)

(The AHL has undergone a season of change and one-third of the league has changed locations or logos for the 2015-16 season. Leading up to the new season, The Hockey News will be ranking the logos of the league’s teams and offering a brief look at the history of each franchise. See the rest of the rankings in our AHL feed.)

At times, it feels like any season in Hershey that doesn’t culminate with the club hoisting the Calder Cup is a failure. Over the past decade, the Bears have made it to the finals in four seasons and taken home three Calder Cups to give them 11 overall, the most in league history.

After a disappointing 2013-14 in which they missed the post-season, the Bears bounced back in 2014-15 to not only make it to the playoffs but advance to the second round by defeating the Worcester Sharks 3-1 in the best-of-five playoff opener.

The turnaround in Hershey this off-season has been plentiful, however. Of their top-10 scorers in 2014-15, the top four are all gone. Tim Kennedy and Casey Wellman signed in the KHL, while Chris Conner and Kris Newbury are heading elsewhere in the AHL next season. They’ve also lost Tomas Kundratek to the KHL and Jim O’Brien to the New Jersey Devils organization.

However, few teams got the boost in the off-season that Hersey did. In their lineup next season, they’ll have Chris Bourque (29 goals, 66 points in 2014-15), Carter Camper (15 goals, 52 points), Sean Collins (17 goals, 36 points) and Paul Carey (15 goals, 34 points), as well as defensemen Taylor Chorney (four goals, 19 points) and Aaron Ness (eight goals, 45 points). All but Chorney would have been top-10 scorers in Hershey this past season, and Chorney barely misses the cut.

Youngsters Jakub Vrana, Riley Barber, Chris Brown and Stanislav Galiev also project to have great seasons in 2015-16, while Bears fans must also be excited about the potential for defenseman Madison Bowey to step in and make an impact.

In goal, veteran Dan Ellis has come in to help carry the workload alongside Justin Peters.

Last year Hershey was out in the second round, but there’s reason to be confident in the club’s ability to best that performance this season. Read more