• Roberto Luongo leaves game with injury; Panthers can’t afford to be without him for long

    Adam Proteau
    Roberto Luongo (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

    The Florida Panthers are off to a decent start this season in large part thanks to the play of goalie Roberto Luongo. So you can’t fault their fans for getting worried when Luongo left Florida’s game Wednesday against the visiting Carolina Hurricanes with an upper body injury. Without Luongo the rest of the way, the Panthers’ playoff chances are toast.

    Luongo makes a brilliant save on the play that apparently injures him, stopping Hurricanes center Victor Rask midway through the second period and with the Panthers leading 1-0:
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  • Former Canadiens fixture Gilles Tremblay excelled as a player and broadcaster

    Stu Hackel
    Gilles Tremblay (Getty Images)

    It’s certainly been a bad week for the hockey world, with the passings of Murray Oliver, Pat Quinn and Viktor Tikhonov, men who all made a substantial mark on the game.

    And so did Gilles Tremblay, a fixture in the NHL since 1961. A strong-skating, top two-way forward for the Canadiens and later a winner of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Foster Hewitt Award for broadcasters, Tremblay died on Wednesday at the age of 75.

    Scotty Bowman first met the 17-year-old Tremblay as his coach for the Ottawa Junior Canadiens of the Quebec League and observed his NHL career. “He was a bit shy, but a nice kid,” recalls Bowman, “but from the time he stepped on the ice in junior, he could flat-out fly.”

    Tremblay would top the 20-goal mark in the NHL five times but, Bowman says, “He didn’t have a big scoring touch in junior because he was always interested in backchecking – and that’s how he made the Canadiens (in the early 1960s). He became a shadow of Gordie Howe. He didn’t antagonize him. He skated with him and carefully checked him.”
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  • Martin Brodeur is back in the NHL – sort of – with the St. Louis Blues

    Adam Proteau
    Martin Brodeur (Getty Images)

    Former Devils goalie Martin Brodeur hasn’t been willing to retire, hoping some NHL team with a legitimate shot at a Stanley Cup would take a chance on a 42-year-old in the twilight of a Hall of Fame career. And on Wednesday, he got his wish. Kind of.

    Brodeur agreed to a de facto tryout with the St. Louis Blues, who are in need of some veteran help after No. 1 netminder Brian Elliott sprained his knee Tuesday against Ottawa. There is no time frame established for his return, and given that his backup is youngster Jake Allen, it’s understandable why GM Doug Armstrong would be on the hunt for someone with the experience/winning pedigree Brodeur can boast of.

    However, the Blues didn’t exactly commit to Brodeur for any great length of time. They want to take a closer look over the next seven days to check under the hood before signing him. Read more

  • Injury to Blues’ Brian Elliott puts Jake Allen in the spotlight earlier than expected

    Jared Clinton
    Jake Allen Featured

    After an injury to starting goaltender Brian Elliott, it’s Jake Allen’s time to step up for the St. Louis Blues.

    The injury to Elliott, which has only been specified as a lower body injury that will keep him out of the lineup on a week-to-week basis, forces Allen into the spotlight much earlier than many had expected. Read more

  • Bo knows faceoffs, and directions to Toronto

    Ken Campbell
    Bo Horvat (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Interesting story about Bo Horvat. He’s from Rodney, Ont., which is about 50 miles southwest of London, but he spent some of his most formative hockey years in Toronto.

    Well, not really Toronto. When he was an atom in 2005-06, Horvat and another player from Sarnia would drive to Toronto every weekend to play for the Toronto Red Wings of the Greater Toronto Hockey League. The player’s father would drive from Sarnia, pick Horvat up along the way and they’d spend the weekend in a hotel room for $89 a night. Read more

  • Rumor Roundup: To make room for young guns, Panthers veterans could be up for grabs

    Fleischmann Kopecky featured

    NHL teams shopping around for veteran depth should get in touch with Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon. According Sun-Sentinel.com’s Harvey Fialkov, a team source claims the Panthers want to ship out some “unnamed veterans” to make room for youngsters Vincent Trocheck, Rocco Grimaldi and Quinton Howden.

    Fialkov believes forwards Tomas Fleischmann, Tomas Kopecky and Sean Bergenheim are the likely trade candidates. The trio were part of Tallon’s mass acquisition of veteran talent during the summer of 2011. They become eligible for unrestricted free agency in July. Fleischmann could interest clubs seeking a skilled scorer while Kopecky and Bergenheim could prove worthwhile additions for those seeking checking-line help. Read more

  • Who is the NHL’s best fighting team? We rank them 1 to 30

    Matt Larkin
    Fight

    One thing everyone can 
agree about in the fighting debate: fisticuffs aren’t gone yet. Hockey is certainly trending that way, but fights still happen for now. So when they do, which team is most heavily armed to win a battle royale on a nightly basis? We set out to crown the best overall tough-guy team in the NHL.

    Our data source was hockeyfights.com, which has documented decades of information. Players earn wins, losses and draws based on fan votes. With the help of our dedicated interns, Craig Hagerman and Namish Modi, we compiled the career record of every player who’s played a game this season, through the second week of November. Fights that didn’t have any votes were deemed no contest, as the sample size was large enough for us to throw them out. We included regular season scraps but also pre-season and post-season ones, because fights are fights, no matter when they happen. Even if you’re a star player shaking off summer rust, you don’t ease up in the pre-season when you’re protecting your own face.

    We then summed the total records of the players on each active NHL roster to produce an aggregate record, which was converted to a points percentage. We awarded two points for a win and one point for a draw. At this stage in the calculations, we realized our overall team rankings skewed too heavily toward winning fights and not enough toward experience. Which enforcer would you fear more: a guy with two fights and two wins or a guy with 100 wins and 60 losses? So we multiplied our team points percentages by their players’ total number of fights to create a final score that combined fight proficiency with fight frequency.

    We believe the rankings on the pages to follow accurately reflect the NHL’s glove-dropping hierarchy. The likes of San Jose and Boston are loaded with pugilists and finished high, whereas last-place Detroit throws punches as often as Gandhi did.

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