• Jets’ Pavelec out at least one month, which could give prospect Hellebuyck time to shine

    Jared Clinton
    Connor Hellebuyck (Marianne Helm/Getty Images)

    The Winnipeg Jets have been an above average team this season in just about every regard. They out possess the opposition on a near nightly basis, have a favorable shooting percentage and are getting a good chunk of their starts in the attacking zone. One area the Jets have struggled, though, is between the pipes and things aren’t about to get any easier.

    The Jets announced Monday that goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, who was hit by Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan Saturday night, has been placed on the injured reserve and, according to TSN’s Sara Orlesky, the diagnosis, a knee sprain, isn’t good. Pavelec is expected to miss all of December’s action, Orlesky reported, and there’s a possibility he won’t return until February.

    Normally, this would be where Jets fans — or at least those who have been more on the side of netminder Michael Hutchinson than they have Pavelec — would be excited about the potential for Hutchinson to shine. However, Hutchinson has been statistically worse than Pavelec this season. Of the 42 goaltenders who have played at least 300 minutes at 5-on-5, Pavelec ranks 18th with a .931 save percentage. Hutchinson? He’s closer to the bottom with a 34th-best .912 SP.

    To say the Jets can’t afford a run of poor goaltending in the incredibly competitive Central Division would be an understatement. But there may not be reason for the Winnipeg faithful to worry, because with Pavelec’s injury came the call up of Manitoba Moose netminder Connor Hellebuyck, and the future could very well be now for the Jets. Read more

  • Luongo one win from eighth all-time — does he have Hall of Fame credentials?

    Jared Clinton
    Roberto Luongo (Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images)

    With one more victory, Roberto Luongo will take sole possession of eighth all-time in wins. It will be Luongo’s 408th victory, putting him one ahead of Glenn Hall and leaving Luongo only 14 wins shy of passing Tony Esposito for seventh all-time. But even as his passes some of the games all-time greats, one has to wonder if Luongo has the credentials to get into the Hall of Fame.

    As THN’s Brian Costello excellently pointed out in August 2014, Luongo’s chances at getting himself into the Hall are based solely on one thing: his ability to pile up wins. Moving past Hall and Esposito won’t be enough for Luongo, though. No, in order to get into the Hall, Luongo is going to have to climb much further. Precedent has been set for someone of his ilk by the exclusion of Curtis Joseph from the Hall of Fame since he became eligible in 2012. Read more

  • Fischler’s One-Timers: Rangers destined for Stanley Cup, despite lack of superstars

    Stan Fischler
    Rick Nash and Henrik Lundqvist (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)


    *  There’s only one super team in the NHL right now and, ironically, barring the goaltender, that club doesn’t boast a single superstar. It happens to be the New York Rangers who are destined for the 2016 Stanley Cup. The reasons are simple: 1. New York features more good — not great — players at more positions than any other squad. 2. Henrik Lundqvist is at least as good as — I say better than — Vezina-winner Carey Price. 3. The Blueshirts collective defense beats those of any other NHL club. 4. Too-often-overlooked Alain Vigneault is at the top of his coaching game and certainly an Adams Award favorite.

    These Rangers remind me of the 1946-47 Cup Champion Toronto Maple Leafs who failed to place a single player on either the First or Second All-Star Teams. A season later — when Toronto won its second of three straight titles — the only Leaf to place either on the First or Second All-Star Team was goalie Turk Broda. Leafs boss Conn Smythe called that club the best Toronto team he ever managed. Next June, I predict, we’ll be saying that this is the best Rangers team ever, and with only one All-Star, Lundqvist.

    Read more

  • Rumor Roundup: Travis Hamonic expands list of trade destinations to Wild, Avalanche

    Lyle Richardson
    Travis Hamonic. (Getty Images)

    The New York Islanders’ efforts to honor defenseman Travis Hamonic’s trade request continues to dominate the NHL rumor mill. There’s growing consensus among the pundits that it could take time for GM Garth Snow to find a suitable deal.

    While the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets are considered the likely destinations for Hamonic, finding the right return is another matter. Snow’s asking price is believed to be a comparable defenseman.

    Read more

  • Canadiens’ Winter Classic alumni roster features Robinson, Carbonneau and Kovalev

    Jared Clinton
    Alex Kovalev scored 430 career goals in the NHL. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

    The beauty of the Winter Classic pitting the Boston Bruins against the Montreal Canadiens — aside from the obvious rivalry — is the alumni lists are long and incredibly talented. The alumni lists also span generations, which means stars of the 1980s can play alongside those who hung up the skates as few as two seasons ago.

    Sunday evening, legendary Canadiens bench boss Jaques Demers announced the roster for Montreal’s alumni team at the Winter Classic, and there are several legendary names among the ranks. One of the highlights, though, is seeing the likes of 1970s star blueliner Larry Robinson suiting up on the same team as those who made their names in the 1990s and 2000s, such as Alexei Kovalev and Jose Theodore. Read more

  • Watch Blue Jackets complete brilliant tic-tac-toe passing play for easy goal

    Jared Clinton
    Boone Jenner celebrates with William Karlsson, Ryan Murray and Kevin Connauton (Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Blue Jackets fans may have been upset with Sunday’s result, but there’s no denying that Columbus appears to be steadily improving under coach John Tortorella. And the offense seems to be gelling, too.

    In Sunday’s 5-3 loss to the red-hot San Jose Sharks, the Blue Jackets took a 2-1 lead into the second intermission thanks to a beautiful three-way passing play between Brandon Saad, William Karlsson and Boone Jenner. Jenner, who capped off the play, couldn’t have missed the net had he tried. That’s how good the rush and subsequent setup was: Read more

  • Updated: Brendan Gallagher breaks two fingers after blocking blast from Johnny Boychuk

    Jared Clinton
    Brendan Gallagher (via Streamable)

    Heading into Sunday night’s action, Brendan Gallagher was tied for the scoring lead in Montreal with nine goals and 19 points. But after Sunday night, Gallagher could find himself on the shelf.

    With the Canadiens and New York Islanders tied 1-1 with less than eight minutes remaining in the second period, Gallagher got down to block a shot from Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk. Boychuk, who has an absolute cannon from the blueline, wound up and crushed a slap shot that Gallagher appeared to block with his hand. After blocking the shot, Gallagher flipped off his glove and was clutching his left hand: Read more