• Marian Hossa hits 1,000 points, but is he a Hall of Famer?

    Chicago Blackhawk Marian Hossa scores on the wraparound

    When Marian Hossa scored the 1,000th point of his career Thursday night, my first inclination was to put him in the Hockey Hall of Fame. After all, he already has two Stanley Cups (and possibly more to come) and he’s one of the best two-way players of his era.

    Good enough for me. But then again, the Hall of Fame should be for the truly special players, not just the very good ones. And that’s where the decision around Hossa becomes a little more vexing.

    Is Hossa a very good player, or truly a great player? As THN senior editor and Hall of Fame expert Brian Costello points out, 1,000 points is now more of a milestone than a Hall of Fame barometer. And there are currently 19 Hall of Fame eligible players who scored 1,000 points during their careers and who are not in the hall. With 466 career goals so far, Hossa is a shoo-in for the 500 mark and that’s where it starts to get a little more interesting. There are only seven players who have scored 500 who are eligible for the Hall of Fame and are not in there. Read more

  • Hurting Blues will need all hands on deck to realize Cup dreams

    Adam Proteau
    David Backes (Getty Images)

    The St. Louis Blues are in the conversation as frontrunners to win the Stanley Cup this year because management has built the roster the right way: patiently and methodically, with a primary reliance on drafting and development and trades/free agent signings to augment the lineup. But what has happened to them in the early goings of this current regular season – first, losing marquee off-season addition Paul Stastny to a shoulder injury Oct. 18; and now, without forwards David Backes and T.J. Oshie, who suffered concussions in Tuesday’s 4-3 win over Dallas – is out of anyone’s control. It should go without saying they’ll be a far less dangerous team with three top forwards on the sidelines, and all head coach Ken Hitchcock, GM Doug Armstrong and Blues brass can do is focus on the group treading water until it’s got all key components back.

    If it makes you happy, you can talk day and night about the organization’s young players (for instance, blossoming 22-year-olds Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz) picking up the slack in the absence of the three veterans, but if Backes isn’t healthy in time for the post-season – and given his history of concussions, this should be a concern – St. Louis is going to have great difficulty winning more than one playoff round. Because the Blues aren’t built around a generational superstar the way the Lightning are with Steven Stamkos or the way the Penguins are with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, they’ll need all hands on deck to win in the highly competitive Western Conference. Read more

  • The New Jersey Devils won a shootout. Seriously. This is not a prank.

    Adam Proteau
    Jacob Josefson, Ondrej Pavelec (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    The New Jersey Devils did something Thursday night they hadn’t done in exactly 600 days: emerge from an NHL shootout with a victory.

    That’s right, for the first time since March 10, 2013 – and with their fans looking on and dressed for Halloween – the Devils won in a shootout by beating the same Winnipeg Jets team they last beat in a shootout, and ended their NHL record 18-game losing streak in the process. They did so by recording the minimum number of goals a team can record in the shootout – a single goal from center Jacob Josefson: Read more

  • An NHL team in Las Vegas: a long-term long shot

    Adam Proteau
    Las Vegas (George Rose/Getty Images)

    Despite the typically demure comments NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is famous for making on the subject of expansion to Las Vegas, the rumblings continue to grow louder: on Thursday, a report had casino giant MGM Resorts International holding talks with a group looking to situate a team in the Nevada city.

    MGM is currently building a $375-million, 20,000-seat arena in the heart of the city – and their partner in the building is the Anschutz Entertainment Group. Anschutz as in Philip Anschutz, owner of the L.A. Kings and NHL power broker. If you want to get a foot in the door of the NHL, this is one of the ways you do it. Networking matters in this league. But if the NHL does decide to set up shop in the pre-eminent entertainment destination on the continent, there’s going to need to be some questions answered. Such as:

    1. How on earth are they going to market a non-traditional product such as hockey in a marketplace that has hundreds of other options for consumers to dispose of their disposable income?

    With all the glitz and glamor of the Vegas Strip fighting for the eyeballs and pocketbooks of tourists, what exactly can the NHL do to stand out from the rest of the pack? If you’re telling me an expansion team (with its lowered expectations and talent levels) in and of itself will be good enough to bring people through the doors, I’m telling you you’re wrong. The attraction can’t be the players on the roster, who will be the flotsam and jetsam of the league in an expansion draft. There’s also every chance the franchise will be mismanaged for years, if not decades (see Thrashers, Atlanta and Panthers, Florida). There has to be something more.

    2. Once the honeymoon period wears off, how does hockey stay relevant?

    There will be a certain amount of hype and happiness in Vegas if the NHL became the first professional sports league to operate there, but once that giddiness fades after a few years, there is next to no grassroots/amateur hockey scene in the area through which to reach young kids and cultivate them as players and fans. Absent that pipeline of support, what is going to grab the casual sports fan by the scruff of the neck and make them care about hockey? Read more

  • Top 10 NHL player name puns – they’re so bad they’re ‘good’

    Ronnie Shuker
    Carey Price

    Puns are like clichés: overused and annoying. At least this editor thinks so. Many headline writers in hockey, however, don’t agree, even at The Hockey News. THN’s other associate editor, Matt Larkin, is known as the office’s inveterate punster. Our associate senior writer, Ryan Kennedy, loves his goofy puns. Even our editor in chief, Jason Kay, gets positively giddy whenever he crafts a “good” pun.

    Except there are none. There’s no such thing as a good pun. Puns are like Nickelback songs: all of them are awful, at least in hockey headlines, in which they’re almost always perfectly pointless. Whither the headline writer’s logic goes, no one knows.

    With that in mind, here are the 10 NHL players who get punned most painfully, along with the headline writer’s…uh, er…“logic” behind each pun:

    Read more

  • Vintage Gordie Howe photo shows off his amazing physique

    Matt Larkin
    Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 4.43.26 PM

    Gordie Howe, one of the game’s true legends, suffered a serious stroke earlier this week. His condition remains serious but his family says it is improving.

    Amid the well wishes for Howe, 86, we’ve seen an outpour of nostalgia and people sharing their favorite memories of him, from his dominant play as the original power forward to the way he always took time for others and never minded being adored, as he understood what it felt like to be on the other end.

    We’ve also seen lots of Howe photos popping up, and the one above, of Howe fishing for tuna, blew me away. The imgur user who posted it said it best: “Now I know how he knocked so many people around.”

    Read more