- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy2 hrs ago
Last season, the Dallas Stars had a dynamic duo in Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, combining for 163 points.
Meanwhile, the Ottawa Senators briefly had one of their own in Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky. Spezza finished the season with 66 points; Hemsky scored 17 in his 20 games in Ottawa.
The latter two players signed with the Stars in the summer. On Monday night, coach Lindy Ruff decided to empty his toy chest, putting all four of them on the same power play unit along with an incredibly lucky Trevor Daley. It was a group that hadn’t seen a minute of practice together in the preseason.
The result? Dallas scored two late power-play goals by Seguin, who had a hat trick, in rallying to beat the Florida Panthers.
It was one game, but you could see the puddles of drool collecting on the ice from agape mouths watching this unit find chemistry.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy11 hrs ago
Ilya Bryzgalov was the backup goalie for the Minnesota Wild in their 4-1 exhibition victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday.
It’s the preseason.
He’s Bryz. He’s bored.
In the third period, a line of fans stood near the glass at the Wild bench, each one taking a selfie with everyone’s bear-fearing, park-loving goaltending Cosmonaut.
Like this one from liblawbs:
And this one from @tmg135:
"WHY YOU HEFF TO BE MAD? IS JUST A SELFIE!"
Props to the guy photobombing that fan's Bryz selfie. So many layers ... it's like "Inception."
Later in the game, after he had appeared on every Instagram account in the Twin Cities, Bryzgalov tossed his touque on the ice after Jason Pominville completed his hat trick.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy13 hrs ago
Coming into this season, the Columbus Blue Jackets looked like they could have a formidable first line.
The current status of that line?
Nathan Horton is out with a degenerative back condition. Ryan Johansen is an unsigned restricted free agent in a brutal, contentious negotiation with the team.And now Boone Jenner will miss “significant time” with a broken left hand, according to Puck Rakers.
Jenner was injured when his hand was hit by a puck in a Sunday practice
He’ll be out for at least a month.
An actual quote from GM Jarmo Kekalainen: “That’s why we have a second line, a third line and a fourth line."
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy19 hrs ago
Denis is from Penza, Russia. It’s subtle, but he appears to be an Alex Ovechkin fan.
These photos appeared on Instagram (via Barstool) and show a tribute to the Washington Capitals star that extends from the shoulder to the elbow.
It depicts Ovechkin in his Russian national team jersey, which he’s worn during his greatest team achievements as a pro, a.k.a. winning gold at the IIHF world championship.
Denis decided on “skating away from the nipple,” which was bold.
FYI, if any of you intend to punch Denis in the face, make sure you hit him from the right side, because we imagine that arm can’t defend anything …
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy22 hrs ago
The Boston Bruins released Ville Leino from his professional tryout contract on Monday, and we’re sorta bummed about it.
It appears that Leino is going to go down as one of the biggest busts in recent NHL history. He parlayed a 53-point season with the Philadelphia Flyers into a six-year, $27-million deal with the Buffalo Sabres, back when Terry Pegula thought that throwing money at the problem would result in a Stanley Cup. He went on to score 46 points in 137 games, and was a healthy scratch last season before getting the last three years of his deal bought out.
But face it: The downfall of Ville Leino was because (a) he was handed an absurd contract that any of us would have signed and (b) the team that gave it to him made the still-baffling decision to slot the winger as their No. 2 center, and he fared about as well as asking Adam Sandler to play Hamlet.
So Leino gets cut from his free-labor contract with the Bruins and … now what?
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy23 hrs ago
The Colorado Avalanche signed defenseman Brad Stuart to a 2-year contract extension on Monday, and rightfully so. Who among us can forget his performance for the Avalanche in … uh … when … er … that preseason game recently?
OK, it’s not unprecedented that a team signs a new acquisition before he laces’em up for them. Clearly the Avalanche like what they’ve seen from Stuart so far, after trading a second and sixth for him from the San Jose Sharks; so they inked the 15-season veteran to a 2-year, $7.2-million deal.
He’ll be a top-pairing defenseman with Erik Johnson this season, and a physical presence that blocks shots. His possession numbers aren’t stellar in comparison to his teammates, at least during his time with the Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks, but he brings much-needed experience to that blue line.
In reading and hearing so many hockey analytics naysayers over the last year, we’re convinced that the divide between the sides isn’t as enormous as it appears. Provided one side stops being so short-sighted and presumptive about the other.
To wit: One of the constant reactions from anti-stats people is that they’re somehow “replacing” good ole fashioned game watching.
Which they aren’t, at all – they’re augmenting what’s seen during games, seeking to guide coaches and scouts in what to look for in evaluating the performance of a team or player. What is the other team doing when he’s on or off the ice? Where is he starting the majority of his shifts, and what has he produced despite that advantage or disadvantage? And so on.
So we’re not going to label Pierre McGuire, NBC Sports analyst and Penguins general manager honorable mention, as an anti-stats guy, despite the negative reaction his words on TSN 690 last week have received.
They came to light in a Jack Todd piece on fancy stats published Monday, in which McGuire was quoted as saying:
The strongest hockey-related thing in Boston isn’t Milan Lucic or Zdeno Chara. It’s the salary cap ceiling.
How else to explain the humbling of defenseman Torey Krug and forward Reilly Smith in their restricted free agent contract decision with the Boston Bruins? Krug wanted somewhere between $1.5-2.5 million on a short-term deal. Smith had 51 points in 82 games, and was angling for a healthy raise as well.
On Monday, the Bruins announced they both signed 1-year, $1.4-million contracts.
That sound you just heard was Peter Chiarelli actually snapping a limb in the arm wrestling match with his young players.
Smith was positioned to get slightly more than that, considering his output last season. Jaden Schwartz just received a $2.35 million AAV contract with the St. Louis Blues, for comparison’s sake.
But it’s Krug that might be skating with a rubber ducky right now, considering the bath he just took.
Add up the bonus money, and his rookie contract was worth $1.704 million annually. So not only is Krug taking less than that, Krug is taking less than his reported contract demand to the Bruins.
After the high stick of delightful Montreal Canadiens pest Brendan Gallagher twisted it sideways, Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby had but one reaction in a game on Sunday: HEAD-BANG’N THAT MASK OFF.
Seriously, that was 1983 Judas Priest concert-level noggin nodding. We imagine he was also making devils’ horns inside his blocker.
This is the first time we've seen Holtby's head rock like that without the assistance of Ray Emery's fist ...
Alas, NHL rules dictate that if the goalie’s mask comes off and the opposing team doesn’t have an “immediate and impending scoring opportunity,” then play is stopped. Which is a bummer, because Holtby totally looked ready to deflect some pucks with his face and/or his damn hippie hair.
Now, we know what you’re saying: This could have just been a ploy to get a stoppage in play with the Montreal on the power play moving the puck around the point.
But that would indicate that goalies push the limits of the rulebook for their own gain, and looking at the goalie equipment around the league we know that’s never the case …
(The 2014-15 NHL season is nearly upon us, and attempting to handicap the winners and losers can sometimes leave us speechless. So we decided to break down all 30 teams with the next best thing to words: Emojis!)
Coach Ron Rolston piloted the Sabres into an iceberg, going 4-15-1 to start the season and getting turfed. Longtime GM Darcy Regier followed out the door, with Pat LaFontaine returning to the Sabres as their new president of hockey operations, bringing coach Ted Nolan with him. LaFontaine would later resign, after naming Ottawa Senators assistant GM Tim Murray as his new general manager.
The Sabres finished 21-51-10. Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller were traded. The exodus began. All eyes turned to the 2015 NHL Draft, where the Sabres had their own pick and that of the New York Islanders.
The new regime takes over.
The Sabres added some interesting names for a team allegedly on the tank.