- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy17 hrs ago
It’s no secret that Pittsburgh Penguins fans have a love/hate relationship with Marc-Andre Fleury, in the sense that many love to hate him.
But Fleury wasn’t terrible last regular season, nor the year before, posting respectable numbers (.917 EV save percentage) while finishing second in the NHL in wins with 39. He also rebounded nicely in the postseason with a .915 save percentage, the first time he cracked .900 since the Penguins’ Cup victory in 2010.
(Sidenote: Really? Ouch ...)
Fleury is entering the final year of his seven-year, $35 million contract, making a base salary of $5.75 million. He enters it with a new coach and a new general manager, both of whom might want to put their own stamp on the crease.
But GM Jim Rutherford tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Fleury is “one of the most talented goalies in the League and sees him as the long-term solution between the pipes.
“From my point of view, he's our goalie,” Rutherford said. “There's no reason why he can't be our goalie for a long time.”
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy22 hrs ago
Some storylines are more compelling than others. I know this because I read to a 4-year-old before bedtime, and the plotting in “The Octonauts Meet The Frown Fish” is far denser than that of anything involving the “Bubble Guppies.” This is, like, a fact.
The same goes for NHL players. Yes, we’ll all be fascinated by the journeys of megastars like Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, and the continued ascension of ones like Tyler Seguin and Taylor Hall. But there are other players that offer a little more intrigue, at least for me, due to new locations or expectations.
Here are the 10 most fascinating players in the NHL heading into next season. Please add your own in the comments – who are you most looking to see in 2014-15? (And apologies to NHL defensemen; it’s not that I think you’re boring, it’s that I think you’re not as fascinating as these next 10 blokes. I'm sure you're interesting in your own way. Cheer up, we're all snowflakes.)
1. Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal Canadiens
This is Year Three for the Canadiens forward, and Arpon Basu explains what that means:
EA Sports prides itself on accuracy and realism in its sports video games, from the ratings of players to the “if it’s in the game, it’s in the game” graphics.
But Ryan Reaves of the St. Louis Blues found one facet of its NHL series lacking in its attention to detail.
Let’s just say it’s an off-color misstep:
Somebody's f*!?in' up pic.twitter.com/3VhkmvkMCh
(We’re assuming it’s NHL 14 he’s speaking about, unless he’s playing a pre-release version of NHL 15 .)
Do not adjust your contrast settings. That’s what Reaves tweeted on Monday, showing a slight skin-tone variation between the IRL and video game versions of the Blues brawler.
Hey, times are tough all over. Maybe EA Sports ran out of budget space and defaulted to using the “Subban template” for all black NHL players.
The St. Louis Blues are having a major unveiling on Monday night at their Blues Ice Breaker fan event. And with all due respect to Paul Stastny, we’re talking about their revamped sweaters for the 2014-15 NHL season.
The jerseys leaked this afternoon on Twitter, and passed along by reader John Heuer. They were later released by the Blues ahead of the party.
Now, you may be staring at these slack-jawed, wondering what exactly is different about them from the previous incarnations.
Fear not: Chris Creamer, sports logo authority, offers this handy comparison between the recent jerseys:
First off, we weep not for the death of piping on these jerseys, which was an aesthetic eyesore on far too many sweaters after the RBK redesigns. But the real winner is the return of the bottom stripe, this time flaunting the yellow (gold, whatever) in the color scheme. They look classic, throwing back to the 1967 design, but they feel modern.
It's a (I don't like) Monday edition of Marek vs. Wyshynski beginning at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, and we're talking about the following and more:
Special Guest Star: Steve Dangle, vlogger supreme, joins us.
• Maybe we should be rooting for the Sabres to win.
• Sens goalie situation.
• News around the NHL.
Question of the Day: What is your NHL dream starting lineup in 2014? Three forwards, two defenseman and a goalie - GO! Email firstname.lastname@example.org or hit us on Twitter with the hashtag #MvsW to @wyshynski or @jeffmarek. Click here for the Sportsnet live stream or click the play button above!
In this wacky digital media world of ours, old stuff just falls through the cracks sometimes. Then someone reposts a story or a video, and suddenly everyone’s writing about underwater hockey again.
This Latvian hockey line brawl is from 2007, so apologies ahead of time to everyone screaming “THIS IS OLD!”
(We refuse to apologize to the “SLOW NEWS DAY” people, because August 25 is why.)
But it was new to us when ‘zafer can’ popped it on YouTube today, and we searched back to find a better clip. Here is Riga 2000 and the aptly named ASK/Ogre, getting their brawl on:
The context here is really interesting: This was a line brawl from a Latvian Ice Hockey Championship series between the teams. ASK/Ogre, in black, sparked the brawl because they went down by two goals late in the third period in what would be the final game of the series. Which is, you know, extraordinarily honorable.
Craig Anderson was entering the final year of his contract with the Ottawa Senators; a 33-year-old incumbent that many assumed would yield the throne to Robin Lehner, the 23-year-old that’s been percolating in the Sens’ system since 2010.
Yet on Monday, Ottawa announced a three-year extension with Anderson with an average annual value of $4.2 million (breaking down to salaries of $4.75 million, $4.75 million and then $3.1 million).
It’s a great move for Anderson, considering how crowded the goalie carousel is in the NHL and the fact that the 2015 free-agent class could include Marc-Andre Fleury and Antti Niemi. So he gets some term and gets a decent bump from his previous deal.
More importantly, he remains in a situation where management obviously believes he gives them a better chance to win than Lehner does at this juncture.
- Greg Wyshynski at Ball Don't Lie1 day ago
As the summer wears on, with training camps and preseason play still off in (what feels like) the distant future, we turn our attention to the past. Join us as we while away a few late-summer moments recalling some of the most scintillating slams of yesteryear, the most thunderous throwdowns ever to sear themselves into our memories. This is Dunk History.
Growing up as a New Jersey Nets fan in the late 1980s/early 1990s was a bit like being Turtle on “Entourage.”
Vinny Chase played over in MSG, and all the pretty people wanted to hang with him. Turtle played in a cavernous, personality-deficient building in a swamp, suffering through attendance challenges so severe that the team’s midweek ticket deals amounted to, “No, seriously, we’ll pay you to see the Nuggets.”
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy3 days ago
Guess we shouldn’t be surprised that a goal celebration in Australia would feature a player going upside down, Down Under.
Check out Ric Del Basso of the Perth Thunder on Saturday night in the Australian Ice Hockey League, scoring the game-winner in a 5-4 shootout winagainst the Melbourne Ice ... and then giving us one of the best goal celebrations of the year.
As the saying goes: If at first you don’t leave feet, slide, slide on head …
Del Basso finally was able to complete the summersault he was looking for, obviously not realizing how awesome it was to see him slide around on his brain bone before the tumble.
“Win the game and give yourself a brain injury!” said the announcers. Man, Australian Rules hockey is weird ...
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy3 days ago
Everyone has their own criteria for a “goal of the year” candidate.
Some like a stunning display of hands to baffle a goalie. Others feel the journey to the net is as important as what happens there.
If you’re in the later category, you’re going to love this tally from Vincent Praplan of Kloten in the Champions Hockey League against HV71, our favorite hockey team that either sounds like a newly discovered planet or a vaccine.
Sick. Ness. Alas, Praplan's team lost 3-2 in the game, played in Jönköping, Sweden.
Let’s count the sicknesses that comprised this goal:
1. That spin move to enter the zone, taking a pass from his teammate and whirling around a defender.
2. Avoiding a stick check on one side, and another defender on the other, by spitting them with a strong move to the goal.
3. Collecting a bounding puck right before engaging the goalie.
4. Now the entire team is collapsing around him, and he still manages to keep the puck, go to his backhand and slip it around the goalie’s pad.