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|Posted by Landon Ewaniuk on April 18, 2014 at 3:00 PM||comments (0)|
Sometimes it really does feel like hockey games are scripted. If one could write a script for how Game 1 of the opening round series between the Colorado Avalanche and the Minnesota Wild would go, that script wouldn't be nearly as good as what actually happened. As they have done so many times this season, the Avalanche practically stole a victory last night. Colorado trailed Minnesota 2-4 entering the third period, but ultimately won 5-4 in overtime with the help of a few plays that can only be made by competitors with relentless determination and character.
Colorado made the score 3-4 following a careless turnover by Minnesota in their own end, and from there the Avalanche shifted into overdrive and threw all the pressure they could muster toward the Wild net. Head Coach Patrick Roy pulled his goaltender with three minutes left in regulation, earlier than most coaches would. But Roy didn't get to be the favorite to win the Jack Adams award for coach of the year by doing what most coaches would. Then, with the Colorado net empty, the Avalanche trailing by a goal with time running out, a Minnesota player scooped the puck down the ice right toward the unoccupied cage, but defenseman Erik Johnson turned on the afterburners and got back in time to sweep the puck away with only a few inches to spare.
With just one minute left, the Avalanche got possession of the puck in the offensive zone and battled desperately to keep it there, and when the clock read 13.4 seconds remaining, center Paul Stastny scored on a rebound to tie the game 4-4. The intermission in between regulation and overtime didn't slow down Colorado's resurgence, as they kept fighting seemingly for their lives. About seven and a half minutes into the extra frame, it was Stastny again scoring the overtime winner off a behind-the-net feed from rookie Nathan MacKinnon.
With the victory, Colorado has taken a 1-0 lead in the series, and the manner in which they did it was fittingly dramatic for the return of this proud franchise to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Avalanche were already a confident team, and that confidence will only grow on the heels of this performance. These young players are wasting no time in starting their own playoff legacy. And based on how they have played all season, the emotional high of this triumph will not be a distraction in Game 2 on Saturday night. They have shown great maturity by maintaining an even keel and never getting satisfied after any victory, and it is safe to say that they will show up for the next game focused and ready to continue the quest.
Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.
|Posted by Landon Ewaniuk on April 18, 2014 at 2:45 AM||comments (0)|
The Florida Panthers ended up as last year’s NHL draft lottery losers but the franchise were left delighted after seeing their number come up in this year’s draw. The Panthers upset the odds by climbing a place to earn the right to the top pick in the draft in June, handing the Buffalo Sabres another blow and continuing their run of not winning a number-one draft pick since 1997.
Florida’s final position of 29th in the league had seen last-placed Buffalo given the best odds of coming out on top in the lottery draw in Toronto, only for the Panthers to be handed the top pick in this year’s draft, in a total contrast to last year. Despite finishing the 2013 season bottom of the league, Florida were relegated to a number-two pick after Colorado won the lottery.
The Panthers are coming off another disappointing season in which they went 29-45-8, finishing just one place ahead of bottom-placed Buffalo. While finishing 29th was an improvement on their last-placed finish of 2013, Panthers fans will now be desperately hoping winning the lottery is the start of some better luck for the franchise this season.
While Florida are still sizeable outsiders with http://www.bet365.com/news/en/betting their chances have been significantly improved following their victory in the lottery ahead of June’s draft.
“It means a lot to us. We've very excited," said Travis Viola, Panthers president of hockey operations. "We're looking to continue to build on our core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity."
Florida are now expected to be looking at either of the two top projected prospects when the draft is held in Philadelphia at the end of June; Samuel Bennett, of OHL Kingston, who finished top of the NHL Central Scouting rankings, and OHL Barrie defenseman Aaron Ekblad. Although there is plenty of time for the Panthers to set their sights on one of the other exciting prospects available in this year’s draft.
Ekblad recorded 23 goals and 30 assists in 58 appearances for the Barrie Colts in this season’s Ontario Hockey League, and a number of scouts have reported back that the defenseman is ready to step up into the NHL next season. While the talented youngster has kept his cards close to his chest in the run-up to the draft, Ekblad has admitted he is desperate to achieve his dream of playing in the NHL.
"It's kind of hard to say what's going to happen come draft day, but nonetheless I'm pretty excited. The goal is always to play in the NHL, ever since you were a little kid. I'm going to keep working as hard as I possibly can over the summer so I can hopefully achieve that goal."
Centre Sam Reinhart is another player who has reportedly caught the eye of Florida in the run-up to the draft after a sensational season for Kootenay Ice in the Western Hockey League, scoring 36 goals and producing 69 assists to end the campaign with 105 points.
|Posted by Talk Hockey on April 17, 2014 at 3:10 PM||comments (0)|
ESPN has always taken a lot of criticism for their lack of NHL content. They did a poll recently asking viewers what league they think has the "best playoffs". Surprisingly, forty percent of people voted the National Hockey League. Could this be suggesting more hockey in the future for the sports network?
GIF: Dale Weise goes between the benches
|Posted by Talk Hockey on April 16, 2014 at 3:50 PM||comments (0)|
Photo Source: Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images
-35 was Alexander Ovechkin's plus/minus rating despite scoring 51 goals.
0 shootout wins for the New Jersey Devils after 13 tries.
1 goalie goal courtesy of Mike Smith. See it here.
4 through-the-legs goals (Hertl, Vanek, Gerbe and Foligno).
6 outdoor games: the Winter Classic, Heritage Classic as well as four Stadium Series'. This was a record number.
9 different goalies dressed by the Buffalo Sabres. The most ever for a team in a single season. Ryan Miller, Jhonas Enroth, Ryan Vinz, Jaroslav Halak, Michal Neuvirth, Nathan Lieuwen, Hackett, Andrey Makarov and Connor Knapp.
12 games. The amount of time David Clarkson spent in the press box because of suspensions. He recorded even less points, 11, despite carrying a massive cap-hit of $5.25 M.
13 consecuative games forward Nathan MacKinnon recorded a point, breaking Wayne Gretzky's record for longest point streak by an 18 year old. Read the article here.
52 wins by the Colorado Avalanche, who finished 3rd in the league after finishing 29th last season. From bottom three to top three.
59 saves by goaltender Ben Scrivens in his shutout versus the Sharks in January. It was the most saves a goaltender has ever made in a regular season shutout. Read the article.
67 points by Jaromir Jagr at the age of 42.
104 points for Sidney Crosby. The most in the NHL season and the only player to crack the 90 point plateau.
1,457 points for Teemu Selanne's career, who will be retiring after the playoffs. Good for 15th on the all-time list.
Video: Top 10 Saves of the 2013-14 NHL Season
Top Ten Goals (2013-14 NHL Season)
Posted by Talk Hockey.
|Posted by Talk Hockey on April 13, 2014 at 10:50 AM||comments (0)|
Early in the first period of a contest between the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings, Nick Bonino scored an incredible no-look goal from his knees. The goal helped Anaheim clinch the top seed in the West as they went on to win in a shootout.
"You could probably try that shot hundreds of times and not make it once. Well done, Mr. Bonino. Remind us to never challenge you to a game of hockey H-O-R-S-E." - SB Nation
Posted by Talk Hockey.
|Posted by Landon Ewaniuk on April 13, 2014 at 2:35 AM||comments (0)|
Ryan Smyth of the Edmonton Oilers announced on April 11 that he will be retiring from the NHL after his club’s final regular-season game this season. This means the 38-year-old native of Banff, Alberta laced up his skates for the very last time in the NHL in a 5-2 home win over the Vancouver Canucks on April 12. The player, whose nickname is Captain Canada, was chosen by the Oilers with the sixth overall pick in the first round of the 1994 NHL Draft and played 14 of his 18 seasons with the club.
Smyth spent two seasons with the Los Angeles Kings, but in 2011 asked to be dealt back to Edmonton. He also played for two years with the Colorado Avalanche prior to joining the Kings and had a short stint with the New York Islanders. Dallas Eakins, the head coach of the Oilers said, “It's always interesting when a guy has such an amazing career and there is sadness, when it should be the other way around. To play that long and to last that long and to have the career that he's had, it should be a joyous occasion.”
The left-winger went into the game against Vancouver in search of a power-play goal as he was tied with former Oiler Glenn Anderson with 126 franchise power-play goals. However, he was held scoreless in his NHL finale. Smyth had 10 goals and 13 assists for 23 points this season in 72 games. He made his debut for the Oilers in the 94/95 season when he played three games for the team before being sent back to the Moose Jaw Warriors junior team of the Western Hockey League (WHL). He also played for Canada at the World Junior Championships that season and won a gold medal.
Smyth had eleven 20-goal seasons during his career and managed to hit the 30-goal mark on four occasions. His best offensive season came back in the 2000/01 campaign when he scored 31 goals and added 39 assists for the Oilers in 82 games. He scored 39 goals for the team in 1996/97 and had 36 in the 2005/06 term and had 31 more the following season. He scored over 20 goals in each of his two seasons with the Kings and added 40 for the Avalanche in his two years there. He also had 15 points in 18 games during his time with the Islanders.
Smyth played a total of 1,270 regular-season games in his NHL career and had 386 goals and 456 assists for 842 points. Fifty-six of his goals were game winners. He made it to the Stanley Cup playoffs on 11 occasions and played in 93 postseason contests. He racked up 28 goals and 31 assists for 59 points in them. He was known as Captain Canuck for the numerous times he suited up for his country in international play.
He played for Canada at the 2006 Olympics in Torino and won gold at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. Smyth also played for Canada at the World Hockey Championships several times and captained the team while winning two gold medals and one silver and won gold with Team Canada in 2004 at the World Cup of Hockey.
Smyth was the heart - and - soul of my beloved Edmonton Oilers. A player Who made a living standing in front of countless NHL goaltenders, banging in greasy goals for the team on a nightly basis. Doing whatever it took to win the game for his hometown team. Smyth, admits He has loss a step, And it is time to hang them up. In 970 contests with the Edmonton Oilers Smyth was never team captain. However, in a classy move by the organization; on this night he was awarded the "C". In my opinion it should have happened years ago....
Thank you for your hard work and dedication to Edmonton Oilers organization and everything you've done for the city of Edmonton.
It has been a pleasure spending my life watching your career!
The respect Ryan Smyth held around the league was shown in the classiest way by the Vancouver Canucks, who had a handshake line for him after the game, to congratulate him on his retirement.
|Posted by Landon Ewaniuk on April 12, 2014 at 2:40 AM||comments (0)|
The Toronto Maple Leafs announced on April 11 that 45-year-old Brendan Shanahan has been appointed as the NHL cub’s new president and alternate governor. Shanahan will take over the roles with immediate effect and will be officially introduced to the media at a press conference in Toronto on April 14. According to a press statement released by the Leafs, Shanahan will be overseeing all club operations.
The new job means Shanahan will be leaving his current position as the NHL’s head disciplinarian. Shanahan was in charge of handing out player fines and suspensions as the NHL Senior Vice President in charge of player safety and hockey operations.
Garry Bettman, the commissioner of the league said, “Whether it was behind the scenes or under the glare of hockey's harshest spotlight, Brendan was as much of an 'impact player' at the League as he was on the ice. Brendan brought commitment, clarity and impeccable credibility to his difficult and thankless duties here. We knew his unique skill-set and body of work in the sport would make him a valued leader for any Club. Brendan has helped to change the culture of the game, has made it safer on a variety of levels, and his influence will be felt for years.”
With Shanahan giving up his regular duties with the league, the NHL announced that Stephane Quintal will be in charge of discipline and player safety for the remainder of the 2013/14 regular season as well as the playoffs. The league will continue to monitor all of its games for rule infractions and Quintal will hold meetings and hand out punishment to players that break league rules and regulations. The league said there will be no change in the area of the Department of Player Safety other than having a new leader in place.
Shanahan had worked for the league since 2009 after retiring from a successful playing career. The Maple Leafs collapsed late in the regular season with an eight-game losing streak and have missed the playoffs for the eighth time in the past nine seasons. The team was officially knocked out of the race for a postseason spot after losing 3-0 in Florida to the Tampa Bay Lightning on April 8. They made the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons last year and were eliminated in the first round by the Boston Bruins in seven games.
Shanahan won three Stanley Cup Championships during his career with the Detroit Red Wings and also took home a gold medal from the 1994 World Hockey Championships while playing with Canada. In addition, he won a gold medal at the 1991 Canada Cup and another at the Winter Olympics in 2002. The winger scored 656 goals career goals and is the only NHL player to have scored over 600 goals and serve more than 2,000 minutes in penalties. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013 after retiring four years earlier.
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