Cam Ward’s five greatest moments, in honor of his 500th game

Ward

Tuesday night, when Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward took the ice, he became only the fifth active goaltender to appear in 500 games.

While his career has been tumultuous at times and it appears as though his days in Carolina are numbered, Ward will go down as the greatest goaltender in the history of the club formerly known as the Hartford Whalers. He has suited up in more games, has more wins (by more than 100), has made more saves and has posted more shutouts than any goaltender that has ever stepped between the pipes for the franchise.

It’s only fitting, then, that on this day we count down the five best moments of Ward’s career, all but one of which has come as a member of the club. Read more

Time for star players to step up because NHL prepared to ditch Olympics

Ken Campbell
Sidney Crosby and Henrik Lundqvist (Photo by David E. Klutho /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)

COLUMBUS – Now is the time for the best players in the NHL to stand up the way they do when the Stanley Cup is on the line. Because if they don’t push the issue on Olympic participation, the NHL will be more than happy to trash the entire concept.

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association announced the details of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, which will be played in Toronto Sept. 17-Oct. 1, 2016. Both sides spoke of the event in glowing terms and there was much singing from the same songbook. That’s because both sides stand to gain a mother lode of money from a World Cup. The profits for the event are split 50-50 between the NHLPA and the league, meaning they will not be part of Hockey Related Revenues and will have no bearing on the salary cap. Each side is free to take its money and do with it whatever it wants. Read more

Nicklas Backstrom’s PED ordeal ends with settlement, sanity prevails

Nicklas Backstrom  (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)

Almost 11 months after Nicklas Backstrom’s drug scandal ordeal began in Sochi, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have acknowledged what everyone seemed to know all along – that the Washington Capitals center was the victim of an honest, but costly mistake.

And, as a result, he’s getting his wrist slapped and we all move on.

The three bodies issued a joint statement Thursday that they had reached a settlement in the dispute, which was to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Read more

Eric Comrie to start for Canada in New Year’s Eve game vs. USA

Ken Campbell
Eric Comrie  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

BROSSARD, Que. – In something of a mild surprise, Hockey Canada announced that Eric Comrie of the Tri-City Americans will be in goal when Canada and USA meet in the New Year’s Eve game that will decide Group A in the World Junior Championship.

Even though Hockey Canada has expressed confidence in both Comrie and Zach Fucale, it seemed Fucale was the frontrunner for the No. 1 job, given that the Montreal Canadiens prospect played for last year’s team and was the starter in two of Canada’s first three games, allowing only one goal on 40 shots. Comrie, meanwhile, stopped all 17 shots he faced in Canada’s 4-0 win over Germany.

Comrie, the 59th overall selection of the Winnipeg Jets in 2013, has been a standout for Tri-City this season. He is the younger half-brother of former NHLer Mike Comrie. Another older half-brother, Paul, played 15 games for the Edmonton Oilers and Comrie’s younger brother, Ty, is a 17-year-old center for the Tri-City Americans.

More to follow.

Dominik Hasek, Scott Niedermayer headline 2015 IIHF Hall of Fame

Dominik Hasek IIHF HOF featured

Already members of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Scott Niedermayer and Dominik Hasek will enter the IIHF Hall of Fame as part of a seven-member class of 2015.

Other inductees include longtime Czech captain Robert Reichel, Sweden’s Maria Rooth, Fran Rider in the builder category, and Lucio Topatigh, an Italian national rewarded for his play for a non-top hockey nation. Read more

Oilers already have perfect man to oversee rebuild: Bob Nicholson

Nicholson

So Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish was scheduled to meet with the media on Friday morning to “address the Oilers performance through 26 games and take questions.” That promises to be a pleasant exchange of ideas.

By all accounts, MacTavish will not announce either of the two things for which many Oiler fans are clamoring – that he’s firing the coach or he’s making a blockbuster trade to upgrade the roster. In reality, with an 11-game losing streak and the stench of defeat permeating the organization, neither of those would provide much relief. The best thing the Oilers could do now is stay the course and finish in the standings exactly where they are now. That would guarantee them at worst the second overall pick and the best chance at the first, meaning they’d have the opportunity to draft a potential generational superstar in either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. Not even the Oilers could screw that up. Read more

Iconic Russian coach Viktor Tikhonov dies at age 84

Adam Proteau
Viktor Tikhonov (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Viktor Tikhonov, the iron-willed coach who helmed the Soviet Union’s best hockey teams during the height of the Cold War’s peak, died in a Moscow hospital Monday. For better and worse, the 84-year-old was one of the most influential figures in Russian hockey history, winning three Olympic gold medals, eight IIHF World Championship gold medals, 13 consecutive Soviet titles as head coach of CSKA Moscow, and one Canada Cup. Tikhonov had been admitted to hospital suddenly in late October, and was reported to have had lost the ability to “move independently”. Tikhonov is predeceased by his son, Vasily, who died at age 55 in 2013. His grandson, also named Viktor Tikhonov, played in the NHL with Phoenix in 2008-09 and currently plays in the Russian-based Kontinental League.

Born in 1930, Tikhonov first gained prominence on the Russian hockey scene playing for the Air Force’s team and Moscow Dynamo; he scored 35 goals in 296 games during a 15-year career in the Soviet Elite League, but it wasn’t until he retired and moved behind the bench that Tikhonov truly made a name for himself. Read more

2014 Hall of Fame class highlights global reach of the game like never before

Hall of Fame Class of 2014 (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Take a close look at the four men who will be inducted in the players’ category of the Hockey Hall of Fame Monday night. You’ll see something you’ve never seen before, and may never see again.

Four players, four different countries represented. A Hall of Fame cohort that includes Rob Blake, Mike Modano, Peter Forsberg and Dominik Hasek belongs in the debate of the best of all-time. We’re not going to get into that debate, but hey, the 1972 class included Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau, Bernie Geoffrion, Hap Holmes and Hooley Smith. But there is no Hall of Fame induction group that represents the global reach of the game more prominently than this one. Read more