What can the NHL do to get more fans?

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By Rudy Mezzetta

When the Predators partnered with the city of Nashville to build a new community rink – the twin-pad Ford Ice Center, which opened this fall – the goal wasn’t merely to extend the team’s brand. It was to convert new people to true hockey believers.

“Get a stick in someone’s hands and they’re a fan for life,” said Sean Henry, the Preds’ president and chief operating officer.

Growing the fan base, while ensuring existing fans stay happy, is crucial for the league. It’s a long-term commitment, said league executives, but it’s the lifeblood for the sport, and by extension, the business of the NHL. Read more

Top 10 goals of 2014: Latest highlight from Ovie one of the year’s best

Alex Ovechkin (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

It seems like each year there’s yet another goal that seems impossible. This year, there were 10.

From between the legs moves to spinning, no-look goals, there have been more than a few tallies this season that had no business going in. While there was an entire 12 months worth of goals to consider, it wasn’t until December when we found our definite list-topper.

Check out the complete top 10 below: Read more

Team Canada’s Madison Bowey can aim for two titles this season

Kelowna's Madison Bowey (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

The Western League’s Kelowna Rockets have been one big bucket of feel-good stories this season. The franchise is the No. 2 team in the entire CHL thanks to a 28-5-3 record, with only the Ontario League’s Oshawa Generals ahead of them. And just before players left for the world juniors, Kelowna added returning Canada WJC defenseman Josh Morrissey to a blueline that already featured Washington Capitals blueline prospect Madison Bowey.

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Braden Holtby pays tribute to Olaf Kolzig with Winter Classic mask

Jared Clinton
Holtby Mask featured

No goaltender is more synonymous with the Washington Capitals than Olaf Kolzig, and for the Winter Classic, present day Capitals netminder Braden Holtby will pay tribute to ‘Olie the Goalie’ with a special mask.

Holtby’s mask for the outdoor game may not bear any marks that specifically mention Kolzig, but the design is actually very similar to that one which Kolzig wore during the ‘90s. Read more

Winter Classic rendering shows Nationals Park rocking the red

Jared Clinton
Washington Winter Classic render

With the Winter Classic more than a week away, we can already get our first glimpse of the scene at Nationals Park thanks to an architectural rendering provided by the NHL.

The rendering, which was released yesterday afternoon, shows the home of MLB’s Washington Nationals with the game already in full swing, with what some would consider ideal weather: light snow fall and what appears to be perfect temperatures. Read more

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

Adam Proteau
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