Analysis: Sens hitching to right wagon with Spezza
By: Mike Brophy
Nov 2, 2007
My first thought, upon hearing Jason Spezza had signed a seven-year, $49 million contract extension, was, wow, that’s a lot of money for a one-goal scorer.
The reality is, the Senators have hitched their wagon to two of the league’s premiere players in Spezza and Dany Heatley, and if there’s enough money left over to supply them with supplemental talent, Ottawa should be competitive for a long time to come.
The NHL’s 15th highest scorer last year, with 34 goals and 87 points in just 67 games, Spezza is a player that is still getting better.
Much like Steve Yzerman before him, Spezza is a naturally gifted offensive star whose overall game improved when he introduced himself to the defensive side of the puck.
The 24-year-old center was one of three Senators who tied for the playoff scoring lead with 22 points, yet there is no doubt he can still get better.
His play in the Stanley Cup final, the most critical time of the season, was not up to par.
That said, there is no doubt he will provide the Senators with offense and leadership for years to come.
Author: Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images
Teemu Selanne scores penalty shot game-winner in Heritage Classic alumni game
By: Jared Clinton
Oct 22, 2016
Teemu Selanne was a part of dozens of memorable moments during his four-year tenure as a Winnipeg Jet, and he delivered another one with the game-winning goal in the Heritage Classic alumni game.
The Heritage Classic’s alumni game may have featured Hall of Famers such as Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey and Dale Hawerchuk, but the one player the Winnipeg Jets faithful were looking forward to seeing most was Teemu Selanne.
Selanne’s return to Winnipeg allowed Jets fans to get a look at one of the original franchise’s all-time greatse and relive the memories of Selanne’s brilliant rookie season. That campaign, the 1992-93 season, saw Selanne score an unbelievable 76 goals — breaking the rookie goal scoring record previously held by Mike Bossy — and 132 points. It also offered one of the most memorable moments in Winnipeg hockey history, with Selanne sliding on one knee and mock shooting his airborne glove.
But Selanne gave Jets fans another lasting memory Saturday afternoon in the alumni game.
The Jets and Oilers alumni were locked at 5-5 in the third period when Selanne picked up the puck in the Winnipeg zone and started to make his way up ice. As Selanne cut out front, he was tripped up the Oilers’ Craig Simpson, which resulted in a penalty shot. With 3.6 seconds remaining in the contest, Selanne stepped up to take his potentially game-winning attempt and he delivered a memory for the Winnipeg crowd:
Selanne’s goal was his second of the outing, and second penalty shot goal of the outing, and fifth point of the contest. It wouldn’t have been unrealistic to expect that from Selanne, though, as the 46-year-old is one of the greatest scorers in league history and only two seasons removed from his last game in the NHL.
Despite the fact that Selanne is most remembered for his time as an Anaheim Duck, he has remained one of Winnipeg’s favorite adopted sons. Selected with the 10th overall pick of the original Jets back in 1988, Selanne scored 147 goals and 306 points in 231 games, but he moved on to become a member of the then-Mighty Ducks of Anaheim by the 1995-96 season.
While he’s not a member of the Hall of Fame yet, there’s no doubting Selanne will be a first-ballot inductee. Over the course of his 1,451-game career, he netted 684 goals and 1,457 points, making him the 11th-highest goal scorer and 15th-highest point-getter in league history.
Watch unthinkable shoot-to-win performance by Michigan alumni Turco, Morrison and Legg
By: Jared Clinton
Oct 22, 2016
Marty Turco, Brendan Morrison and Mike Legg were on hand to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the 1996 University of Michigan NCAA championship team, and the trio put on a show for fans during the shoot-to-win contest.
The half-ice, shoot-to-win intermission contest has become a fixture of arenas across the globe and is a major part of in-game entertainment for hundreds of teams each season. No matter how many times the contest is played this season, next season or any time in the future, though, it’s going to be near impossible to match the performance put up by three notable University of Michigan alumni.
Friday night at Michigan’s Yost Ice Arena, members of the 1996 NCAA championship-winning team gathered for a 20th anniversary celebration of their accomplishment, and beyond being celebrated for their successes on-ice, a select few members of the team took part in the intermission shoot-to-win competition, known as the Score-O. Those members were former NHL goaltender Marty Turco, former NHL center Brendan Morrison and Mike Legg, he of Michigan lacrosse goal fame.
However, in order to make things a bit more difficult, the trio shot from between the defensive zone circles. Turco stepped up first and set the tone for a seemingly impossible performance from the trio:
One of the three scoring from that position on the ice, OK. That’s believable. So when Turco put his shot home, it was exciting enough. For Morrison to follow it up would have been hard to fathom, but we’ll give it to ‘B-Mo’ considering he netted 200 goals and 601 points during a nearly 1,000-game NHL career. His odds of scoring from that position are probably better than that of a fan chosen at random. What really boggles the mind, though, is that Legg scores and does so in lacrosse-goal fashion.
Who would have thought, nearly 20 years after scoring one of the most memorable goals in hockey history, that we’d be talking about Mike Legg scoring another “Michigan Goal”?
Author: Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images
Ducks’ Ritchie times his swing and bats home game-winning goal against Canucks
By: Jared Clinton
Oct 24, 2016
Nick Ritchie was the first to spot an airborne puck and the first to get his stick on it as he swatted home his first goal of the 2016-17 season.
If Nick Ritchie wasn’t a first-line winger for the Anaheim Ducks, maybe he could head back to his hometown and give the Toronto Blue Jays some help on offense. At least that’s what his game-winning goal Sunday night against the Vancouver Canucks would suggest.
Ritchie, 20, came into the Ducks’ home opener without a single goal to his name despite spending a fair share of his time alongside Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, but coach Randy Carlyle relying on the trio for some offense finally paid some dividends Sunday when Ritchie broke through for his first goal of the new campaign. It came in a similar fashion to what the Ducks had probably been hoping, too.
After Perry and Getzlaf maneuvered their way into the Canucks’ zone with a neutral-zone interception-turned-counterattack, Getzlaf fired a shot that was deflected out of the way by Vancouver defenseman Alex Edler. Nearly everyone lost sight of the puck, but Ritchie spotted it just before Canucks blueliner Chris Tanev, and the young Ducks winger waited for the puck to drop to a spot that wouldn’t constitute a high stick before batting it home:
That’s not exactly the equivalent to a home run, sure, but score it at least a double for Ritchie there.
If it was hard to tell that almost no one on the ice knew what had happened leading to the goal, watch Getzlaf after the puck crosses the goal line. He celebrates like he’s just scored a playoff go-ahead goal, when, in fact, he’s only registered the primary assist on a bizarre goal by Ritchie.
The Ducks have to be hoping that Ritchie’s goal helps spark his offensive contributions because they were looking for much more than one goal and two points out of the youngster six games into the campaign. It would help Ritchie, too, to find some consistency, because as he’s struggled to find the score sheet, his ice time has been incredibly erratic. He’s averaging more than 16 minutes per game, but after starting with games of about 17 and 21 minutes, two of his past three games have seen his ice time drop to roughly 12 and 14 minutes.
Stars’ Sharp sidelined after suffering ‘concussion-like symptoms’ following huge hit
By: Jared Clinton
Oct 21, 2016
The Stars don't know exactly when they can expect Sharp’s return, which means yet another player has been added to Dallas’ growing injury list.
The Dallas Stars are going to be without Patrick Sharp, but they don’t know just how long the veteran winger will be on the shelf.
Sharp, 34, was forced to leave Thursday’s game against the Kings during the second period after being walloped along the boards by Los Angeles blueliner Brayden McNabb. Early in the frame, with Dallas on a power play, Sharp took a pass from Devin Shore and stepped over the blueline with Jeff Carter giving chase. In order to sidestep Carter, Sharp moved along the right wing boards where he was met with a solid jolt from McNabb.
No penalty was called on the play, and the replay shows that McNabb caught Sharp about as square on the shoulder as possible.
Regardless of how clean the hit may have been, though, Sharp immediately grabbed his head and was slow to get to his feet. He remained out on the power play for another 20 seconds before leaving the ice, but after heading to the bench, Sharp left the game. The Stars later announced he wouldn’t return due to “concussion-like symptoms,” and Stars coach Lindy Ruff said Sharp’s absence will go beyond Thursday’s game.
“Sharp will be out,” Ruff said, according to Mark Stepneski. “He missed the rest of the game on the hit but I don’t know what the time frame is.”
And even if Sharp is diagnosed with a concussion, that won’t make his timeframe for return any more clear. Unlike other injuries where it’s easier to gauge recovery times, a concussion can sideline a player for a few games or for months at a time.
The good news for Sharp, though, is that he doesn’t have a long history of serious head injures. In October 2010, Sharp, then with the Chicago Blackhawks, was forced out of the lineup with what was at the time called a “slight concussion,” but he returned after missing just one game and hasn’t missed any time with head injuries since.
The timing of the injury is brutal for Dallas, especially after an off-season in which seemingly none of their key top-six players could stay healthy. Already, the Stars are without Jiri Hudler (flu), Ales Hemsky (groin), Cody Eakin (knee), Mattias Janmark (knee) and Jason Dickinson (hip), so losing Sharp — and possibly Patrick Eaves, who also left the contest Thursday after a blocked shot — would be another serious blow to the dynamic Dallas offense.
Through four games this season, Sharp had mustered just one assist but had put 10 shots on goal.