• Cedric Paquette sends Mattias Ekholm flying into Lightning bench with huge hit

    Jared Clinton
    Mattias Ekholm wound up in the Lightning bench thanks to Cedric Paquette. (via NHL/YouTube)

    Heading into Thursday’s game against Nashville, Tampa Bay winger Cedric Paquette had missed the last six games with an upper body injury. It appears all is well with Paquette, though. After all, he used his upper body to launch Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm into the Lightning bench with a great hit.

    The timing on the hit couldn’t have been better, either. With the Lightning down 3-1, Brian Boyle scored with 6:41 remaining in the second period to bring Tampa Bay within one. Then, off the ensuing faceoff, a total of four seconds later, Paquette came charging hard to send Ekholm for a ride: Read more

  • Inspirational young fist-bumping Bruins fan gets his own hockey card

    Adam Proteau
    Bruins fan Liam Fitzgerald poses with his Upper Deck card during Boston's game against Anaheim. (Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

    In early November, nine-year-old Bruins fan Liam Fitzgerald captured the hearts of hockey fans when he fist-bumped each of Boston’s players as they left the ice prior to a game against the Florida Panthers. And on Thursday, the inspirational youngster was back at a Bruins game to receive a huge honor: his own hockey card. Read more

  • Mike Smith big part of Coyotes future with or without McDavid or Eichel

    Ken Campbell
    Mike Smith  (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

    BUFFALO – In a little more than 60 minutes, the 30th-place Buffalo Sabres and 29th-place Arizona Coyotes had a total of 124 shot attempts. That was three more than the Islanders and the Kings, 20 more than Carolina and Pittsburgh and 33 more than Nashville and the high-flying Tampa Bay Lightning.

    All in all, a rather entertaining, if not surreal night in the latest installment of the Connor McDavid Sweepstakes™. The Sabres did a pretty good job of keeping the crowd out of it by staying in the game, but the cheers could not be contained when the Coyotes scored on the power play just 56 seconds into overtime for a 4-3 victory, which increased the Coyotes cushion over Buffalo to six points. The Sabres were quietly incensed at the reaction, but the people who speak with their feet and their wallets are entitled to react however they like. If the Sabres get either McDavid or Jack Eichel and he helps lead them to a Stanley Cup in five years, nobody is going to remember a night in March when the fans booed a Sabres loss. Read more

  • Hockey Hall of Fame clears path for Chris Pronger’s immediate induction – and it’s about time

    Chris Pronger signs autographs at the 2014 NHL Awards in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    According to an ESPN.com report, former NHL star defenseman Chris Pronger’s road to the Hockey Hall of Fame was cleared Thursday when the HHOF’s general voting members ratified changes to the induction eligibility criteria for players. The decision means it’s possible Pronger will be welcomed into the HHOF’s next group of honorees – and regardless of what you think of the process that led to this point, you can’t argue the 40-year-old doesn’t deserve to be acknowledged as one of the game’s all-time great blueliners and competitors.

    The report states one of the HHOF’s new bylaws (No. 26, in this case) includes this section, which directly addresses Pronger’s situation: “a person is not eligible for election in the player category if he or she has played in a professional or international hockey game (which terms shall not be considered to include games played only or primarily for charitable or recreational purposes, or for any other limited purpose that the Chair of the Board of Directors determines, in his or her discretion, should not disqualify for nomination a person otherwise eligible) during any of the three (3) playing seasons immediately prior to his or her election.”

    In effect, the new bylaw means that players such as Pronger – someone who everyone knows won’t play again because of injuries, yet who doesn’t file retirement papers because of salary cap issues – can be considered after the standard three-year period following their final game. Read more

  • Coyotes radio analyst & former NHLer Nick Boynton faces multiple charges after incident at Buffalo casino

    Adam Proteau
    Former NHLer Nick Boynton, shown with the Phoenix Coyotes in March of 2007. (Don Smith/Getty Images)

    Arizona Coyotes radio analyst and former NHL defenseman Nick Boynton is facing a slew of charges after an incident involving patrons and security staff of a Buffalo casino early Thursday morning.

    The 36-year-old Boynton, who retired in 2011, stands charged with assault, harassment, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief and obstruction of government administration following an alleged incident at approximately 1:45 a.m. Thursday morning. Police allege that Boynton was abusive with numerous people at the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino – including one biting incident involving an officer attempting to restrain him – and that he damaged casino property. Boynton currently is in police custody at the Erie County Medical Center and is expected to be arraigned in Buffalo city court Friday. Read more

  • Whose heads should roll if the Boston Bruins miss the playoffs?

    Matt Larkin
    Zdeno Chara. (Getty images)

    Pop quiz, Bruins fans: where were you when the Joe Thornton trade went down Nov. 30, 2005?

    And how did you feel when the ticker crawl on the nearest TV unveiled the return for your team’s franchise center?

    BREAKING: Boston Bruins trade C Joe Thornton to San Jose Sharks for LW Marco Sturm…

    …C Wayne Primeau…

    …and D Brad Stuart.

    “Wait. That’s ALL!?”

    It was a doomed deal from the start, and Jumbo Joe went bananas upon arrival in the Silicon Valley, amassing 92 points in 58 games en route to his lone Hart Trophy and scoring crown. It also marked the darkest point in Bruins history since the team finished low enough to draft Thornton.

    So why talk about it today? Because, if the Bruins miss the playoffs this season, they’ll reach easily their lowest point as a franchise since Nov. 30, 2005. They’ve made the big dance seven straight seasons since Claude Julien took over as coach, posting point totals of 94, 116, 91, 103, 102, 62 (in 48 games, pro-rated to 106), and 117. The run includes a 2011 Stanley Cup, another final appearance in 2013 and the Presidents’ Trophy for the league’s top record a season ago.

    But 2014-15 hasn’t been overly kind to the Big, Bad Bruins. They’re 36-25-12, good for 84 points with nine games remaining. The surging Ottawa Hamburglars Senators have nudged them out of a playoff position and have the dreaded game in hand. The Bruins spent a good chunk of the year without captain Zdeno Chara, they’ve been sans David Krejci for a month and, worst of all, Dougie Hamilton’s breakout season is paused indefinitely with a mysterious injury. The signs don’t exactly scream late-season comeback.

    The Los Angeles Kings may miss the playoffs despite playing very much like themselves, taking it easy during the regular season and still posting strong puck-possession numbers. The Boston Bruins can’t say the same. They’re scoring less, possessing the puck less and allowing more goals. They look little like the perennial powerhouse of the past half-decade. It’s fair, then, to ponder an off-season of questions for this team. Which heads will roll? Who needs a change of scenery?

    Read more

  • Wild-card primer: who makes it and who misses in the East and West?

    Loui Eriksson (Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)

    When the NHL changed the playoff format to include wild-card teams last season, it’s unlikely even they could have imagined a scenario in which the races for the final playoff berths in each conference would be this tight.

    With less than 10 games remaining on the schedules of all playoff hopefuls, only six points separate teams in the Western Conference, while a three-team race separated by five points in the Eastern Conference could come down to the final night.

    What’s on the horizon for each of the teams, and who stands the best shot at making it in? Read more

  • CHL playoffs: The most intriguing first-round matchups

    Quebec's Anthony Duclair  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

    The CHL playoffs begin tonight and it’s going to be a lot of fun. Connor McDavid has one last chance to win it all with the Erie Otters in the Ontario League, but the powerfully-built Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds have designs of their own. Out in the Western League, Kelowna and Brandon seem to be on a collision course for the final, while the Quebec League has the added wrinkle of sending two teams to the Memorial Cup – one being the host Quebec Remparts, who won’t want to crawl in through the back door.

    Here’s a look at all the first-round matchups in the CHL, with a bit more info on one series per league that has me riveted from the get-go.

    Read more