• St. Louis Blues trending the wrong way going into Stanley Cup playoffs

    Josh Elliott
    Ryan Miller makes a save for the St

    Don’t look now, but the projected Stanley Cup-contender St. Louis Blues are struggling. Badly.

    The Blues have hit the skids hard and limp into the playoffs with six straight losses. And while they haven’t been terrible in all of those games, they’ve been crippled by injuries to some of their more important forwards.

    Derek Roy has been battling injuries and got banged up again against Detroit on Sunday.

    Patrik Berglund left Friday’s game with a shoulder injury.

    Winger Vladimir Tarasenko is still recovering from hand surgery.

    T.J. Oshie is still hurting after getting clocked by Mike Rupp of the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, Vladimir Sobotka is nursing a lower-body injury and Brenden Morrow and David Backes are both dealing with foot problems.

    At this time of year, no one would dare whisper “broken foot” around either Backes or Morrow, but taking a slapshot to the foot is never good. Even if they rush a return for the playoffs, it’s hard to play through a foot injury.

    It’s all bad news for the Blues. Those seven forwards accounted for 114 of the team’s 248 goals this season. That’s 45 percent of their offense, and they’re clearly missing the contributions.
    Read more

  • With little on the line, final NHL weekend full of sentimentality

    Josh Elliott
    Ryan Smyth's tearful goodbye

    In an odd quirk of the schedule, this weekend’s games didn’t mean much for the playoff race. Every post-season team was already determined by the end of Friday, meaning all that remained this weekend was to figure out matchups and the President’s Trophy winner.

    So with the battle for the Stanley Cup on pause, many teams chose to make it a weekend full of career firsts – and career lasts.
    Read more

  • Getting To Know: Dennis Maruk

    Mark Malinowski
    Dennis Maruk on the Cleveland Barons

    Status: Former NHL center from 1975-1989 for California Golden Seals, Cleveland Barons, Washington Capitals and Minnesota North Stars. Tallied 356 goals and 522 assists in 888 NHL games. Currently operates a hockey school called Winning Techniques just north of Huntsville, Ontario, teaching kids how to put the puck in the net and other skills. Plays 40-50 games a year with NHL alumni and at charity events like the Special Olympics.

    HT: 5-8 WT: 165

    DOB: November 17, 1955 In: Toronto, Ontario

    First Hockey Memory: “Playing hockey house leagues. We played hockey in the street all the time, that’s all we did. I had a neighbor who played goalie. He said to come play with us. I went to the practice and the coaches said, ‘Play with us.’ So I started playing house leagues in Toronto. I was 8.”

    Hockey Inspiration(s)
    : “Growing up, I guess any child watching the Toronto Maple Leafs on TV, Hockey Night In Canada, that got me inspired. Watching the Maple Leafs and cheering them on. Playing house leagues, that went pretty good for me.”
    Read more

  • Bruce Bennett: the Albert Einstein of hockey photography

    Ronnie Shuker

    You already know the name Bruce Bennett. If you’ve ever perused the pages of The Hockey News or clicked through THN.com, you’ve seen the name. It’s there in the fine print, crediting some of the most memorable photos in the history of hockey.

    Bennett, 58, is an icon of ice imagery. He has photographed hockey for nearly 40 years, with an estimated 40,000-plus images printed in major newspapers and magazines around the world. He has seen his profession go from film to Photoshop, the darkroom to the digital era, while the game went from the old-time hockey of the 1970s to the new-school NHL of today. The players have gotten faster and his equipment more high tech, yet his eye for what makes a photo so indelible, and louder than the accompanying words, remains the same.

    “When I cover a hockey game, I’m not just looking for a guy scoring a goal,” he says. “I want the whole picture: I want close-ups of faces, I want to see the tension in a player’s face – I want to see the competitiveness.”

    Read more

  • Highlight of the Night: Marian Hossa does it all himself with a wraparound goal against the Predators

    Josh Elliott
    Chicago Blackhawk Marian Hossa scores on the wraparound

    Sometimes it’s easy to forget how good Marian Hossa is because he plays behind guys like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on the Chicago Blackhawks.

    But Hossa is really good, as he showed last night when he went coast-to-coast and beat Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne on a wraparound.

    Hossa makes everyone look like they’re moving in slow motion as he darts into the zone, skirts the two Nashville defenders and comes out behind the net.

    Then he tosses the puck at Rinne and it goes in.

    Read more

  • Ryan Smyth retirement ceremony a classy move by Edmonton Oilers

    Josh Elliott
    Ryan Smyth's last game

    With bottom-five finishes in four of their last five seasons now, there’s not a whole lot the Edmonton Oilers do right these days.

    But saying a proper goodbye to Ryan Smyth was one thing done right.

    The Oilers paid tribute to Ryan Smyth Saturday in his final game before retirement. Not only did they name him captain for the night, they also let his five-year-old son Alex stand on the blueline beside him for the national anthem. It was a sentimental affair full of tears from a very emotional Smyth. And for one game at least, it kept fans from throwing jerseys on the ice.

    With their glory days fading into distant memory while the failed seasons pile up, it’s good to see the Oilers with something to honour from their recent past.
    Read more

  • Union secures National Championship with convincing victory in Frozen Four final

    Alan Bass

    Finishing off their storybook season as the underdog everyone loves to love, the Union College Dutchmen finished off the Minnesota Golden Gophers with a 7-4 win to clinch their first ever college hockey National Championship. After letting up a goal just 2:37 into the game, Union turned on the jets, scoring four goals in the first period, and adding three more in the third period to seal the deal in the Frozen Four final.

    After Minnesota opened the scoring in the first period, junior defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere tied the game for Union at 9:26. Although Minnesota responded with a go-ahead goal just 37 seconds later, Union regrouped and scored three consecutive goals within 1:54. Minnesota’s Taylor Cammarata scored early in the second period to bring the Gophers within one, but Union’s Max Novak tipped in a pinpoint pass from Kevin Sullivan to put the Union back up by two. The two teams traded goals late in the third period, and senior captain Mat Bodie potted an empty netter with 45 seconds remaining to seal the deal.

    Minnesota pushed hard the entire game, but Union’s defensive play was stellar, and as the clock hit zero, the bench cleared to celebrate a momentous occasion for the college that everyone referred to as the “David” of this year’s tournament – despite their top-three national ranking.

    Read more

  • Five things I learned at the Frozen Four

    Alan Bass

    As the final buzzer sounded on the Frozen Four, Union skated off the ice as this year’s National Champions. Held for the first time in Philadelphia, one of the USA’s largest cities and most passionate sports locations, the tournament was thrilling from the start of the first semifinal game Thursday night through the last fan leaving the building on Saturday. The NCAA and Comcast-Spectacor impressed the college hockey world with this event, whose highlights were plentiful.

    1. Union is a college hockey program to be respect

    Regardless of the result of the championship game, Union College, a school with just over 2,200 students and no athletic scholarships, has proven that they belong with the big guns in college hockey. With their second Frozen Four appearance in three seasons, they not only defeated favorite Boston College in the semifinal in dramatic fashion, but they were able to beat top-ranked Minnesota in the final for their first ever hockey championship. With a large number of players returning next year, and another improved recruiting class on its way in, coach Rick Bennett is poised for another run to the tournament next season.

    2. Philadelphia is missing the boat in college hockey

    With an unbelievable sports fan base in this city, in addition to a sports complex that rivals any in the country, a company (Comcast-Spectacor) that runs hundreds of sports arenas in North America, and a hockey team that has drawn sellout crowds for years, Philadelphia is missing the boat by not having a major college hockey team. Penn State moved college hockey closer to Eastern Pennsylvania, but a quality program in the Philadelphia area could have immense positive implications for the NCAA as they attempt to increase their standing in college sports. Read more