Playoff Photo Gallery - Day 24
Evgeni Nabokov hangs his head before the start of Game 5. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Playoff Photo Gallery - Day 24
A selection of the best images from May 2..
Evgeni Nabokov hangs his head before the start of Game 5. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
A selection of the best images from May 2..
Anders Lindback is headed to the AHL, and the KIngs' two NHL goalies are still on the shelf so they may try to acquire a proven starter.
The Los Angeles Kings made a short-term move to boost their injury-plagued goaltending, signing Anders Lindback to a professional tryout offer. The 28-year-old Lindback has some NHL experience, but for now, he joins their AHL affiliate.
Backup Jeff Zatkoff is expected to be sidelined for only a week with a lower-body injury. Starter Jonathan Quick, however, could be out for up to three months. Meanwhile, some pundits continue to speculate over who the Kings could bring in via trade as a short-term replacement for Quick.
Prior to the Kings signing Lindback, Sportsnet's Luke Fox listed Winnipeg's Ondrej Pavelec, Anaheim's Jonathan Bernier, Florida's Reto Berra, Pittsburgh's Mike Condon, the New York Islanders' Thomas Greiss and Philadelphia's Steve Mason or Michal Neuvirth as possible trade targets.
Other pundits previously linked Pavelec, Bernier, Berra, Condon and Greiss to the Kings. The cap hits of Bernier ($4.15 million) and Pavelec ($3.9 million) means the cap-strapped Kings are unlikely to pursue them. Berra ($1.45 million), Condon ($575,000) and Greiss ($1.5 million) are more affordable options.
Mason and Neuvirth, however, are new additions to this guessing game. Fox believes Mason's name appears in trade chatter owing to his $4.1-million cap hit. Like Bernier and Pavelec, his salary isn't a good fit for the Kings. Neuvirth ($1.6 million) is more affordable, but like Mason, he's not off to a good start.
When asked by a reader which goalie the Flyers could trade, Philly.com's Sam Carchidi replied Neuvirth for the right price. However, he also points out Flyers GM Ron Hextall prefers carrying two strong goalies on his roster. If Neuvirth and Mason fail to snap out of their collective early-season funk, Hextall might consider moving one of them.
NO SIGN OF END TO JETS-TROUBA STANDOFF
With November fast approaching, there's no sign of an end to the standoff between the Winnipeg Jets and restricted free agent defenseman Jacob Trouba. The 22-year-old remains at home in Michigan hoping Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff honors his trade request.
Trouba could be cooling his heels for a while. TSN's Bob McKenzie last week said there's no indication the young rearguard is close to being dealt. His colleague Pierre LeBrun reports Cheveldayoff's asking price is a young, top-four defenseman with a left-handed shot. He claims the Jets GM can afford to be patient, as he's got the full backing of team ownership.
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reports the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins were linked to Trouba in the rumor mill. However, ESPN.com's Craig Custance doubts the Wings can land him, suggesting Anaheim's Cam Fowler as a better target. CSNNE.com's Joe Haggerty doesn't see Trouba as a fit with the Bruins.
Trouba and the Jets can afford to engage in a staredown for now. But as the Dec. 1 deadline for re-signing restricted free agents nears, one of them could blink. Expect the conjecture over Trouba's future to increase by mid-November.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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Steven Stamkos feels the best he has in several seasons, and it's already showing on the scoresheet. Can he surge back into the NHL's elite goal-scoring ranks?
Boos rained down on Steven Stamkos the moment he touched the puck Tuesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Yet there’s a decent chance he didn’t hear them. When you’re as happy as he is right now, negative noise gets reduced to a dull murmur, easy to ignore.
That’s what Stamkos appeared to be doing mere seconds after that first tongue-lashing from the Toronto faithful. He deked in on goalie Frederik Andersen, had the puck poked away by blueliner Matt Hunwick and watched it bounce in. It was the first of two goals, the second more of a no-doubter, coming on a laser of a one-timer. Stamkos racked up four points, fuelling a 7-3 Tampa victory.
Stamkos, who hails from just north of the Big Smoke, may or may not have been close to signing with the Leafs as a free agent this summer. He may or may not have almost changed his playing address to the ACC. Whether it was close to happening or not no longer matters. He chose to stay with the Tampa Bay Lightning, inking an eight-year, $68-million deal. And on Tuesday his performance buried the team many thought he’d join.
“You give the guy chances like he had tonight, and he’s going to score a bunch of those,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “I was really happy for him, because I’m sure it was a tough decision for him. Plus this is his hometown. Fans pay a ticket, they’re entitled to do what they want, but 'Stam' was a great son to Toronto.”
Stamkos’ signing keyed a real coup of an off-season for Tampa GM Steve Yzerman, who signed defenseman Victor Hedman long-term and locked up right winger Nikita Kucherov on a bridge contract. At least for now, Yzerman kept the band together, and his team is the NHL’s leading Stanley Cup contender.
Stamkos said after Tuesday’s game the team’s vibe has changed for the better. The players are having fun again. They know Stamkos is safely their captain for the next eight seasons. Kucherov is staying put. Heck, even Jonathan Drouin’s trade request is rescinded. And the Lightning’s collective mood has shifted from stormy to sunny.
That applies to Stamkos internally and externally. Over the past season he dealt with the constant contract rumors, lingering questions about his health since breaking his leg in 2013 and, lastly, a major blood clot scare that cost him all but one playoff game. It’s all behind him now. Is this the best he’s felt to start a season in years?
“Yeah,” he said, “coming off the leg injury and what happened at the end of last year. It helped playing in the World Cup, getting some games under your belt and feeling confident. And obviously this year too, with no distractions, just coming in with a clear mind, it all helps toward having fun and being confident. I definitely feel that way right now.”
It appears ‘Peak Stamkos’ showed up to start 2016-17. After his statistical explosion Tuesday, he has five goals and nine points through six games. The five goals equal his career high for the six-game mark of a season. That has to excite Tampa fans given Stamkos’ recent career trends. His goals per game have declined in consecutive seasons, from 0.68 to 0.52 to 0.47. His points per game have slipped three straight years, from 1.08 to 0.88 to 0.83. The natural question to ask was whether Stamkos was merely beginning a decline as he reached his mid-20s. He ripped a career-best 60 goals in 2011-12 at 21 years old. Of the 39 60-goal seasons in NHL history, 26 came from players 25 or younger. That’s two-thirds. Ten came from players 22 or younger. The odds of Stammer matching his best campaign are slim. But is it fair to surmise he’s done as an elite scorer after slipping to just 36 goals in 2015-16?
Not yet. Stamkos’ sizzling start to 2016-17 supports his own theory he’s back to his best self, healthier than he has been in years and free of the mental albatross of contract rumors. Cooper sees a promising side effect, too.
“The other thing is, he’s shooting the puck,” Cooper said. “When someone of his caliber keeps shooting pucks, good things are going to happen, and that’s what’s happening right now.”
Cooper isn’t just tossing out approximations. Stamkos through six games averages a whopping 3.83 shots per contest. It’s obviously a small sample size, but 3.83 would be a career-best rate. We’re clearly seeing a rejuvenated No. 91.
So while Stammer likely never cracks 60 goals again, he’s not done contending for the Rocket Richard Trophy. Four years ago, another dominant goal scorer appeared to be exiting his prime. He’d slipped into the 30-goal bracket two straight years. He couldn’t get on the same page as his coaches. He turned 27 before 2012-13 began, and plenty of ink was spilled with stories asking what was wrong with him.
That player: Alex Ovechkin, who has since led the NHL in goals four straight seasons. Stamkos is a year younger than the “washed up” Ovie was four years ago and feels better than ever. We may thus look back on 2016-17 as the year Stamkos rejoined the sport’s elite.
Matt Larkin is a writer and editor at The Hockey News and a regular contributor to thn.com. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Matt Larkin on Twitter at @THNMattLarkin
Chris Hansen’s desire to build an arena in Seattle has led to a new proposal that would see his group stay away from public funds, and if the proposal goes through, there’s a chance we could see an NHL-ready building in Washington State.
The NHL’s 31st franchise in Las Vegas doesn’t even officially have a name and already there could be reason to start wondering about the potential for the league to add another franchise in the future. And no, the speculation isn’t about a new team in Quebec City.
For the better part of the past several years, there has been talk about the potential for a new arena in Seattle, but King 5 News’ Chris Daniels reported Tuesday that businessman Chris Hansen, who has been at the forefront of the drive for an arena in Seattle’s SoDo area, has made an offer that could be too good for the city to pass up.
At a time when cities and taxpayers are often on the hook for millions of dollars when new arenas are built, Hansen and his group are proposing that they privately fund the construction of the new arena at “no cost to the City or the County.” That’s right: the owners of the building are proposing they go out of pocket to get the arena built.
There are a few catches, though. In order for the deal to go through, Hansen and Co. are asking that a portion of Occidental Avenue, which is located near the proposed site for the arena, be vacated, and that tax credits are given, “just as similar waivers have been granted for the other sports venues.”
Of course, none of this is to say that the arena deal is now automatic, nor does it absolutely mean the NHL will be heading to Seattle. In fact, Hansen’s letter to council makes several references to the NBA, and it’s clear the intention is to have the building erected with the desire to return professional basketball to the city. After all, it was the NBA’s TV deal that played into the group’s proposal to privately fund the building.
In the letter, Hansen and Co. outline that the “economic landscape has changed” since the group and the city first entered into a memorandum of understanding about a potential arena. The group outlines the passing of the recession, a “new economic cycle,” declining interest rates and, most importantly, that the NBA’s TV contract has created “more financial certainty in the industry.” The group goes further, though.
“Our goal has always been to return the NBA to Seattle and to build a new arena to make that possible,” the letter, via King 5 News, reads. “Our partnership with the City and County started five years ago and was based on a recognition that private financing of a new arena in the prevailing economic conditions was not economically feasible. The goal of this partnership was to build the Arena and bring an NBA team to Seattle.”
And while the letter may not make mention of the NHL, Seattle mayor Ed Murray did in his statement regarding the proposal. According to Daniels, Murray said the proposal will be reviewed, and added that council shares “the goal of bringing the NBA and NHL to Seattle.”
Even if the proposal is accepted, it doesn’t mean an NHL expansion team heading to Seattle is a given. However, Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, who also serves as chairman of the board of governors, made it clear he was interested in the opportunity for a team in Seattle as the league went over expansion bids in October 2015.
“I’d love to see us in the West to be up in Seattle,” Jacobs told ESPN’s Joe McDonald in October 2015. “Seattle’s a natural, and I would love to see one in Houston, but we can’t get into that building. There are conditions and circumstances in each one of these that we have to take into consideration.”
However, more recent comments by Jacobs might point towards the NHL waiting a long while before adding another team. Earlier this month, Jacobs told CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty he didn’t believe there was much desire for further expansion at this time and that the “league is looking for more stability.”
That, along with the time it takes to build an arena, could mean we’re still years away from seeing an expansion team in Seattle. But if Hansen’s proposal goes through, it becomes a much more viable option as a location for a possible 32nd team.
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Sean Burke, Cutris Joseph, Grant Fuhr.
There are five goalies who've managed to rank in the top 25 for career wins while playing for six teams or more. Let's take a look back at those five travelling netminders.
hen we think of history's best goaltenders, we tend to immediately picture them in a certain uniform. Like anyone else, goalies can occasionally be traded or hit free agency. But we like to think of the great goalies as being tied to one team, maybe two at the most. Martin Brodeur was a Devil. Patrick Roy was a Canadien, then an Av. Dominik Hasek, with apologies to the Red Wings, will always be a Sabre. And Hall-of-Fame talents from Bill Durnan to Ken Dryden to Henrik Lundqvist spent their entire careers with one franchise.
But that's not always how it works out. Every now and then, a goalie comes along who ends up spending his career jumping from team-to-team, even as they’re building an all-star resume. In fact, there are five goalies who've managed to rank in the top 25 for career wins while playing for six teams or more. Let's take a look back at those five travelling netminders, and some of the stops you may not remember them making.
He was best known as: The Oilers' starting goaltender for much of their late-80s dynasty. Fuhr won four Cup rings, to go with a Vezina and two seasons leading the league in wins. His numbers were never jaw-dropping, and they look awful compared to modern day goalies (he was runner-up for the Hart Trophy in 1988 with an .881 save percentage). But he developed a reputation as a guy who would always make the big save when it mattered, and no less than Wayne Gretzky has called him the greatest goalie of all-time.
You might also remember him as: A Toronto Maple Leaf during the early days of the Cliff Fletcher rebuild, a Buffalo Sabre who helped them to their first playoff series win in a decade in 1993, and a St. Louis Blue who nearly started every game for an entire season because Mike Keenan was a crazy person.
But he also managed to play for: The Flames and the Kings. OK, a quick stint in Los Angeles was pretty much mandatory for every ex-Oiler of that era, so maybe that's not surprising. But Fuhr stuck around long enough to suit up in a forgotten 1999-2000 season for the Calgary Flames at the tail end of his career, spending most of the year backing up Fred Brathwaite.
He was best known as: That's a tough call, but let's go with his four years in Toronto, where he helped transform Pat Quinn's Maple Leafs from also-ran to Cup contender almost overnight. He was a Vezina finalist twice, and was good enough to head into the 2002 Winter Olympics as the starter for Team Canada. There wasn't anything he couldn't do. Well, other than argue with a referee without accidentally tackling him.
You might also remember him as: He broke in with the Blues in the early 90s, highlighted by a dominant playoff run in 1993. From there it was off to Edmonton, where he only spent three years but will always be remembered for almost single-handedly beating the Dallas Stars in an epic 1997 playoff series. And then there were the two seasons in Detroit, which are best remembered for him being the scapegoat in a playoff loss and then victimized by Dominik Hasek's unretirement.
But he also managed to play for: Like Fuhr, Joseph also snuck in a shady season with the Flames, starting five games in 2007-08. And then there was his two-year stint in Phoenix right after the 2005 lockout. Although in fairness, pretty much everyone did that, with names ranging from Brett Hull to Mike Ricci to Petr Nedved to Owen Nolan making cameos on those weird Coyotes teams.
He was best known as: The legendary Montreal Canadiens goalie who racked up six Vezinas with the Habs and six Stanley Cups through the 50s and 60s.
You might also remember him as: His longest post-Canadiens stint came in Toronto in the early 70s. He also played two years with the Rangers, and two more with the expansion Blues (during which he won another Vezina).
But he also managed to play for: The Boston Bruins in 1973, which you could be forgiven for not remembering since he was 44 years old and only appeared in eight games. And that wasn't even the end of the road for the future Hall of Famer. After a year off, he headed to the WHA and played 31 games for the Edmonton Oilers during the 1974-75 season, during which he turned 46.
He was best known as: The twelve years he spent with the Penguins from 1988 to 2000, during which he backstopped the team to two Stanley Cups. Here's a random Tom Barrasso fun fact: During his first season as a Penguin, he set an all-time record that still stands for most PIM by a goaltender who wasn't Ron Hextall.
You might also remember him as: Before arriving in Pittsburgh, Barrasso spent six years in Buffalo. The first of those came in 1983-84, when he broke in as an 18-year-old rookie and won the Calder and the Vezina, a feat that's pretty much unequalled in NHL history.
But he also managed to play for: Four other teams for like a week each. That's only barely an exaggeration. You might recall his brief stint in Ottawa, which was mainly remembered for the time he swore on Hockey Night in Canada. But did you know he played for the Blues for six games in 2002? Or that he played for the Hurricanes for half a season in 2001? Or that the Hurricanes traded him to the Maple Leafs so he could back up Joseph for four games? If not, it's OK. I'm pretty sure Barrasso himself doesn't even remember at least two of those.
He was best known as: Let's go with his first four seasons in New Jersey, including a rookie year in which he played 13 games and still somehow finished tied with Ray Bourque for eighth in MVP voting. He also established a reputation as a guy you did not want to fight, although more than a few goalies forgot that lesson over the years.
You might also remember him as: After his time in New Jersey, he went on to spend five years in Hartford, followed by part of one in Carolina after the franchise moved.
But he also managed to play for: Everyone else. Let's start with the Coyotes, where he spent five years (not counting his later role as goaltending coach). You probably remember that one. But what about his parts of two season in Florida? A half season in Los Angeles? A year in Tampa Bay? Not one but two separate stints in Philadelphia? A partial season with the Seattle Metropolitans? Sixteen games with the Canucks?
OK, I made one of those up. But the point is that Burke got around. He switched teams nine times over the course of his career, including five trades, two free agent signings, a waiver claim and a franchise relocation. And that's not counting the 1991-92 season he split between the San Diego Gulls and the Canadian Olympic team during a contract dispute.
Burke was pretty much the most travelled halfway decent goaltender of all-time. Is there anything wrong with that? (Re-watches old Burke fight clips.) If there is, I'm sure not saying so.
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.