Laraqueâ€™s Hockey For Haiti swag helps build hospital for earthquake survivors
By: Hockey News
Feb 4, 2010
By R.J. Riley
Former Canadiens tough guy Georges Laraque has put a different pair of gloves on and is ready to get to work, but this time it’s more personal than ever.
Of Haitian decent and with family members in Haiti still unaccounted for, Laraque has teamed up with IceJerseys.com to offer Hockey For Haiti jerseys and apparel, a charitable line of sweaters and swag.
All proceeds will go to Laraque’s Hockey For Haiti charity campaign that is aimed at improving healthcare for the earthquake survivors in the poverty stricken country.
Tuesday in Montreal, Laraque accepted a donation for $6,506 at Lauren Hill Academy towards his World Vision project to build a new hospital in Haiti and unveiled the official Hockey For Haiti jersey.
The Hockey For Haiti project brings together Laraque, the NHLPA Goals and Dreams fund and World Vision Canada in an effort help those injured in the catastrophic quake of Jan. 12.
Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky celebrate the Game 2 overtime winner at the 1987 Canada Cup.
Author: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Down Goes Brown: What was the best Game 2 in World Cup history?
By: Sean McIndoe
Sep 28, 2016
Five out of seven World/Canada Cups have been best-of-three finals, so let's take a look back at those five games, and rank them from worst to best.
Tuesday night's Game 1 of the World Cup final, which saw Team Canada earn a 3-1 win over Team Europe, sets up a do-or-die Game 2 Thursday night. A Canada win would end the tournament, and the trophy will be in the building, unless the league has come to its senses and thrown that ugly thing into a raging bonfire instead.
There have been seven World and Canada Cups in international hockey history, but we didn't get to see a Game 2 in all of those. Twice, in 1981 and 2004, the format called for a one-game final. But it's been best-of-three in the other tournaments, which gives us five Game 2 to work with. So today, let's take a look back at those five games, and rank them from worst to best.
As always, this is opinion only, and if you disagree, then you're wrong.
No. 5 – 1984: Canada 6, Sweden 5
The road there: Canada stumbled through the 1984 tournament, going 2-2-1 through the round robin and barely making the playoff round as the fourth seed. But Team Canada earned a trip to the final thanks to an overtime win over the Soviets in the semi-final, and they were facing an upstart Swedish team that had beaten them in their round robin meeting and had just embarrassed the Americans with a 9-2 blowout. The Canadians took the opener by a 5-2 final, but the second game proved closer.
Game 2: The game looked like a laugher early on, with Canada scoring four times in the first seven minutes and adding a fifth before the first period was over. A Paul Coffey goal early in the second made it 6-1, setting the stage for a furious Team Sweden comeback. They scored three unanswered goals to close out the second period, and draw to within 6-5 early in the third. But that was as close as they came, as Canada held on for the win and the series sweep.
The aftermath: This turned out to be the first of three straight Canada Cup wins for Team Canada, and remains the only finals appearance by Team Sweden.
The bottom line: What looked like a laugher wound up being a reasonably entertaining contest. But the game everyone remembers from the 1984 Canada Cup will always be that semi-final thriller with the Soviets.
No. 4 – 1991: Canada 4, USA 2
The road there: Coming on the heels of the 1987 tournament, fans were probably hoping for yet another final between Canada and the Soviets. But with the team in turmoil, partly due to the political situation back home, the Soviets failed to even make the playoff round. That left Canada looking for a new challenger, and the Americans were happy to step in for their first ever Canada Cup final appearance. The two teams met in the round robin, with Canada winning 6-3 to hand the Americans their only loss of the stage, and Canada followed that up with a 4-1 win in the opening game of the final.
Game 2: This game may best be remembered for who wasn't playing. Team Canada captain Wayne Gretzky was knocked out of action in Game 1 on an ugly hit from behind by Gary Suter. The check left Gretzky unable to suit up for Game 2, and contributed to the back problems that slowed him down for much of the early 1990s.
Looking for the sweep, Canada jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the Americans clawed back with a pair of second-period goals. But Steve Larmer earned some revenge on Suter by stripping him of the puck during an American powerplay and then scoring on a breakaway for the winning goal.
The bottom line: This game, much like the 1991 tournament itself, was an entertaining one that for some reason isn't all that well remembered by many fans.
No. 3 – 1996: USA 5, Canada 2
The road there: The Americans swept through the round robin with a perfect 3-0-0 record, including an impressive 5-3 win over Canada that featured a wild early brawl. That win earned them a quarter-final bye, and after knocking off the Russians 5-3 in the semis, Team USA came into the final looking like they had a real shot to wrestle the international crown away from Canada. But Steve Yzerman's overtime winner in Game 1 in Philadelphia handed the Americans their first loss of the tournament, and left them needing a pair of wins in Montreal to take the tournament.
Game 2: Team USA jumped out to an early lead, but Canada came back to tie the game before the first intermission. Goals by John Leclair and Brett Hull gave the Americans a 3-1 lead, and Mike Richter stood on his head to keep it that way until a late powerplay goal by Joe Sakic made it 3-2 with five minutes to play. That was as close as they came, and a pair of Team USA empty net goals padded the final score to 5-2.
The aftermath: Team USA completed the comeback in Game 3, winning by another 5-2 score to capture their first (and so far only) best-on-best championship.
The bottom line: Despite the two empty netters making the score more lopsided than the game was, this was a fun matchup that featured lots of star power, some bad blood, and a raucous Montreal crowd. You can watch the highlights here.
No. 2 – 1976: Canada 5, Czechoslovakia 4 (OT)
The road there: Four years after the legendary Summit Series, the Canada Cup was born in an effort to create the first true international best-on-best tournament. There was no semi-final back then, with the top two teams heading directly to the finals. Canada grabbed one of those spots, finishing first in the round robin with a 4-1-0 record. But while many had expected a Summit Series rematch in the final, the Soviets were edged out of a spot by Czechoslovakia.
The opening game of the final was a blowout, with Canada earning a relatively easy 6-0 win. Game 2 ended up proving to be a bigger challenge.
Game 2: Canada grabbed a 2-0 lead just two minutes in, but Czechoslovakia fought back to tie the game early in the third. A Bobby Clarke goal restored the Canadian lead, but two quick Czechoslovakian goals gave them a 4-3 lead with four minutes to play. Bill Barber tied it with two minutes left, and that set the stage for Darryl Sittler to deliver the first ever Canada Cup with what still stands as one of the most famous goals in the tournament's history.
The aftermath: To this day, Sittler and Team Canada assistant coach Don Cherry are still arguing over who's idea that move was.
The bottom line: You could make a great case for this game being No. 1 on the list. I think it’s a coin flip, but I'll take the game that directly led to one of the greatest moments in hockey history.
1987: Canada 6, Soviet Union 5 (2OT)
The road there: Canada and the Soviets finished in the top two spots in the round robin, then knocked off Czechoslovakia and Sweden, respectively, in the semi-finals to set up the first best-on-best multi-game series between the two rivals since the 1972 Summit Series.
Game 2: With the Soviets looking to clinch their second Canada Cup in three tournaments, the series shifted to Hamilton for the second game. The two teams resumed the all-out offensive pace, with Canada leading 2-1 before the game was even four minutes old. Then it got better.
Canada took a 3-1 lead to the first intermission, but the Soviets tied it in the second before Mario Lemieux quickly restored the lead. The Soviets tied it again early in the third, but Lemieux scored again midway through. That set the stage for a frantic end to regulation that saw Valeri Kamensky score with a minute left to send the game to overtime.
With the trophy on the line, the two teams went back and forth through one scoreless extra period. But midway through the second overtime, Canada finally ended it. Guess who.
The aftermath: This game was so good that the hockey gods decided to re-use the same script for Game 3: A back-and-forth thriller that ends with a 6-5 Canada victory on a Mario Lemieux winner.
The bottom line: The series finale was quite possibly the greatest international game ever played. And it was made possible by this one, which was almost as good. That's enough to earn it the top spot on our list, narrowly ahead of Sittler's fakeout.
Sean McIndoe has been writing about the NHL since 2008, most recently for ESPN and Grantland. He spends most of his time making jokes on twitter, where you may know him as @downgoesbrown. He appears weekly on TheHockeyNews.com.
Watch Mike Hoffman’s rocket wrist shot ring out for pre-season overtime winner
By: Jared Clinton
Sep 30, 2016
If the season started tomorrow, Mike Hoffman would be just fine. The 26-year-old Senators sniper showed off his shot Thursday with a laser, and he’s ready to start another hunt for the elusive 30-goal season.
Ottawa Senators sniper Mike Hoffman burst onto the scene in 2014-15 with a 27-goal campaign, and he followed that up with an outstanding 29-goal, 59-point season in 2015-16. And with the new season approaching, Hoffman’s shot looks to be in fine form as he chases the 30-goal plateau for the third straight campaign.
In an exhibition tilt Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens, Hoffman, 26, showed off the same sniping ability that has made him arguably the best pure goal scorer in the Senators’ lineup.
Early in overtime, after the teams had played to a 3-3 draw through three periods, Kyle Turris worked his way into the Canadiens’ zone and put a puck on goal, which was turned aside by Mike Condon and skittered into the corner. Montreal’s Alex Galchenyuk was first to the puck and he made an incredibly ill-advised no-look behind-the-back pass that found Hoffman’s tape. From there, Hoffman was money:
The sound the shot makes off the bar is crisp, and it might have been the only way Condon knew the puck had beaten him. Hoffman’s shot was off his tape and behind the Canadiens netminder in a hurry, enough that the cameraman tasked with following the puck may have gotten whiplash going from right to left so quickly.
Hoffman signed a four-year, $20.75-million contract in the off-season, and shots like that are one major reason why the Senators were willing to pay up to keep the talented sniper around.
The new KHL expansion team in China appears to still be learning some of hockey's customs.
China is a potentially massive emerging market for hockey. Beijing will host the Winter Olympics in 2022 and even if NHL players aren’t at the 2018 Games, it seems like a no brainer to return for 2022 to try to increase the sport’s popularity there.
The KHL already has a foot in the door in China, thanks to its newest expansion team, Kunlun Red Star, which is based in Beijing. Fans are embracing the game to various degrees, but it seems there are some nuanced hockey customs that haven’t fully caught on yet.
Take this ceremonial puck drop, for instance.
This unintentionally hilarious puck drop was prior to a September 18 game between Kunlan and Tolyatti Lada. The unidentified man in the suit, after getting a puck-dropping lesson, seems content to just throw the puck at the ice like it’s a grenade and get on with his day. No waiting around for both captains, no hand shakes, no photos.
The confused captains are Lada’s Vladimir Malenkikh – who tries in vain to get the man to wait – and Red Star’s Janne Jalasvaara, who is still adjusting his helmet when the puck drops. The two captains exchange a confused look.
Another subtle hilarious moment is Red Star left winger Max Warn, in the top right corner of the video, trying to usher the two men off the ice.
Ten games into their inaugural KHL season, Kunlun is experiencing many ups and downs. They are a somewhat respectable 4-6 on the season, but are struggling at the gate. Reports say there were only 550 spectators for a recent game in Shanghai, where they are playing a handful of games this season.
After injury-filled season, Blues relieved Schwartz, Fabbri are only day-to-day
By: Jared Clinton
Sep 30, 2016
The St. Louis Blues lost almost every roster regular to injury for some amount of time in 2015-16, but, thankfully, that bad fortune doesn’t appear to be repeating itself. Injuries to Jaden Schwartz and Robby Fabbri are minor.
You could run down the list of injuries the St. Louis Blues were forced to miss time in 2015-16 due to injury, or you could simply read a list of players to suit up for the squad this past season. The lists, as it turns out, are almost identical.
In fact, the injuries were so bad during the past campaign that it took until the opening game of the playoffs, Game 83 of the season, before St. Louis was finally was able to ice its “optimal roster,” meaning a team free of any injury replacements. And though things turned out quite all right for the Blues, who earned their way to the Western Conference final, the hope was that this season would be a healthier one for all involved.
With that in mind, it’s easy to understand why the players and coaching staff have been holding their breath whenever someone is forced to leave the ice in training camp or pre-season action, but it already appears the Blues are catching more breaks when it comes to potential injuries already.
During practice Thursday, winger Jaden Schwartz, who missed 49 games in 2015-16 with a fractured ankle, left the ice early and was later said to have suffered an upper-body injury. The ailment appeared to be to do with his wrist, but the Blues could breathe easier when coach Ken Hitchcock announced that Schwartz won’t be forced to miss any meaningful action.
Schwartz, 24, has become one of the Blues’ go-to scorers over the past few seasons, and though St. Louis remained successful during his absence in 2015-16, his presence on the ice was sorely missed. Schwartz had scored 53 goals in 155 games over the first two full campaigns of his career, and there was hope that he’d chase the 30-goal mark this past season. He’ll have his shot at doing so in 2016-17, though, especially as he looks set to take on a first-line role in St. Louis.
But Schwartz isn’t the only injury the Blues are dealing with as 20-year-old Robby Fabbri has also been sidelined since the start of the week with an unspecified upper-body injury. Like Schwartz, though, there’s good news to report in that Fabbri’s injury isn’t one the Blues are considering serious.
According to Hitchcock, Fabbri will be out through the weekend and will continue to be monitored, but he has been on the ice skating. Fabbri missed 10 games this past season — six with a concussion, four with a lower-body injury — but the hope is he can remain healthy this season and take a shot at winning a consistent top-six role as a sophomore scorer for the Blues.