• The Blackhawks’ 2015 Stanley Cup ring is a stunning 14-karat, 355-diamond work of art

    Jared Clinton
    Chicago's 2015 Stanley Cup ring. (via Jostens)

    To the victor goes the spoils, which in the case of the 2015 Chicago Blackhawks roster means a 14-karat, 355-diamond ring to honor their Stanley Cup victory.

    Players and staff from the Blackhawks 2015 Cup-winning roster were presented with the rings in a private ceremony Sunday evening. But just because the Blackhawks have earned the title of modern-day dynasty from some doesn’t mean the rings have gotten more and more excessive over their three championships.

    Their first modern-era Stanley Cup ring, coming after the 2010 championship, contained 404 diamonds and gemstones set into a 14-karat white gold ring and cost an estimated $30,000 a pop, according to Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune. But even that ring paled in comparison to the 2013 ring. While it had nearly 150 fewer diamonds and gemstones, the 2013 ring’s carat-count was 14.68. That’s nearly twice as much as the 2010 ring, which came in at 8 carats. Read more

  • How did Daniel Sprong go straight to the NHL from the second round of the draft?

    Ryan Kennedy
    Daniel Sprong (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    Of all the 18-year-olds to clinch an NHL roster spot this fall, Pittsburgh’s Daniel Sprong is the most unlikely – on paper, at least. Forget the fact the right winger was born and raised in Amsterdam: he was also drafted in the middle of the second round by the Penguins, not hearing his name called until the 46th pick in the 2015 draft.

    So how did this all happen?

    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

  • THN’s 2015-16 NHL season preview: Boston Bruins

    The Hockey News
    David Pastrnak celebrates (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

    2014-15 Record: 41-27-14 (96 Pts.)

    THN’s Prediction: 6th, Atlantic Division

    What To Expect: After seven straight playoff appearances, including a Stanley Cup, ownership swiftly axed GM Peter Chiarelli when Boston missed the dance by two points. It wanted the roster remodelled, and new GM Don Sweeney did just that, moving six regulars, most notably Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton. The core of Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara and Tuukka Rask remains, but the 2015-16 Bruins will have a different feel.

    Last season, the B’s dropped from third in offense to 22nd, and Sweeney moved four of
the seven players who reached 40 points. Wingers Jimmy Hayes and Matt Beleskey are the major additions up front. They’ll be challenged to replace Lucic, Carl Soderberg and Reilly Smith. Beleskey and Hayes have each had one productive season, so banking on either is a gamble. A bounce-back year from Brad Marchand and another step for David Pastrnak, the youngest regular in the NHL last season, will help Bergeron and David Krejci carry the offense. Pastrnak led the team with 26 second-half points. Read more

  • Four rule changes we’d like to see the NHL make

    The Hockey News
    Mikael Granlund and Jonathan Toews (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

    We asked four THN staffers what rule change they’d like to see made in the NHL. Here’s what they came back with:

    A couple decades ago, the notion of bigger nets was considered virtual treason. Today, it’s more akin to a parking fine. This idea to help inject more offense isn’t universally loved, but enough minds have been opened that it’s at least not a criminal offense to air it. Which stands to reason.

    Everything in the game has changed since the NHL was born a century ago, either via mandate or organically. Sticks are curved and no longer wooden. Goalies wear masks and are allowed to fall to the ice. And they’re mammoth, thanks to genetics and gear. Pick a facet of the game and it’s been altered – except for the 4 x 6 nets. Our shinny forefathers either got it perfect the first time or it’s time to consider expansion of another kind. If Vegas can get a team, why not bigger nets? – JASON KAY, EDITOR IN CHIEF


    Is there a fan out there who likes it when a linesman stands up from his faceoff squat to signifying one of the centers is being thrown out of the circle? Here’s a new rule guaranteed to fix that time hog. Give each team one warning (or one center tossed from the faceoff dot) per period. From that point on, have the linesman throw the puck in the direction of the non-offending team. Immediately, you’ll see centers around the league line up straight and battle for the puck drop fairly. 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

  • THN’s 2015-16 NHL season preview: Buffalo Sabres

    The Hockey News
    Jack Eichel (via Bauer/Twitter)

    2014-15 Record: 23-51-8 (54 Pts.)

    THN’s Prediction: 7th, Atlantic Division

    What To Expect: Between 1979 and 2009, 10 teams drafted in the top two in consecutive years. Five of them reached the Stanley Cup final within eight seasons and three won the Cup. Buffalo, after bottoming out for two straight second-overall picks, hopes to join the list.

    The ascent begins in 2015-16 with the seasoning of Jack Eichel. He won’t have to shoulder the offense alone, as GM Tim Murray acquired No. 1 center Ryan O’Reilly minutes before drafting Eichel. Murray also dealt for Evander Kane last season, and Kane will be ready to debut in October after shutting down his year for shoulder surgery. Read more