Sam McCaig

  • Rankings: The top 30 starting goalies in the NHL

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo! Sports9 mths ago

    There’s nothing like a good goalie debate. And this is a debate about 30 good goalies, the 30 starting goalies in the NHL.

    But first, a clarification. This is a ranking of the 30 No. 1 goalies in the NHL. Every team is represented once, no more and no less. Which means that there’s a few masked men who are not on this list who would certainly make the grade if it was a straight-up ranking of the NHL’s top 30 goalies. But it isn’t. It’s a ranking of the NHL’s top 30 starting goalies.

    For example, perhaps you’ll notice that a certain all-time winningest NHL goalie isn’t listed. That’s right, we believe Cory Schneider will take over as New Jersey’s No. 1, supplanting 41-year-old legend Martin Brodeur. Of course, Martin being Martin, he’ll probably prove us wrong by winning 50 games and signing a new three-year contract. But unless he’s got a Dorian Gray portrait hidden in Lou Lamoriello’s office, Brodeur has to slow down sometime. Right…?

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  • NHL free agency: The 2013 UFA Leftovers All-Star Team

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo! Sports9 mths ago

    NHL free agency opened on July 5, and most high-profile UFAs were signed and sealed in the first couple of days. But there’s still a few big names and several serviceable players available; in fact, there’s enough to ice an entire UFA Leftovers All-Star Team. It might be a long shot for the Stanley Cup, but we think it’s got at least a Blue Jackets’ chance at making the playoffs. (Note: Teemu Selanne wasn’t included due to his annual return-to-Anaheim-or-retire rite of summer passage, but everyone else was fair game.)

    Here it is, the UFA Leftovers All-Star Team, the best club that money can buy in the middle of the summer. The team’s strengths are up front, especially on the wings, and there's decent overall depth. Weaknesses? Everything else. Blame the GM for skipping the entry draft and waiting two weeks into free agency before starting to build a team…

    FORWARDS

    First Line

    Center: Peter Mueller. A big gamble, but Mueller is also a big body (6-foot-2, 205 pounds) with a big pedigree (drafted 8th overall in 2006) and he’s only 25. The talent’s there; he scored 22 goals and 54 points as a rookie.

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  • NHL Power Rankings: Penguins flying high to end season; Flames, Avs, Panthers stay comfy in the basement

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo! Sports1 yr ago

    This is Sam McCaig’s final Power Rankings column of the 2012-13 NHL season.

    POWER RANKINGS: Rating the NHL teams from 1 to 30

    1. Pittsburgh Penguins: One of their biggest challenges will be finding chemistry on the fly as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal and Paul Martin work their way back into a lineup that’s still adapting to trade acquisitions Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, Jussi Jokinen and Douglas Murray. It’s a good problem to have.

    2. Chicago Blackhawks: The ‘Hawks were the NHL’s biggest story in the first half of the season, reeling off an league-record 24-game point streak before they suffered their first regulation-time loss. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa headline a potent offensive arsenal, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are the go-to guys on defense in any given situation, and the goaltending duo of Corey Crawford and Ray Emery has been nothing less than phenomenal.

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  • NHL Power Rankings: Top seeds jostling for playoff position

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo! Sports1 yr ago

    Sam McCaig’s weekly Power Rankings column will appear on Saturdays.

    POWER RANKINGS: The NHL’s top 10 teams

    1. Pittsburgh Penguins: It’s all about getting chemistry with the new guys – and getting a healthy Sidney Crosby and James Neal back in time for the playoffs – as the NHL’s top-heaviest team gears up for a run at the Stanley Cup.

    2. Chicago Blackhawks: The ‘Hawks hit a rough patch a few weeks ago, losing five times in a nine-game stretch. The good news? Those were their only five regulation losses all season, and they’ve gone 6-0-1 since.

    3. Anaheim Ducks: Inevitably the No. 2 seed in the West, the Ducks have defeated the Blackhawks and Kings in recent showdowns with the conference’s elite.

    4. Boston Bruins: They beat up on a couple of non-playoff teams last week, but the Bruins have struggled to score for about a month. Still, they’re too deep and too talented for that to last. Plus, they got Jaromir Jagr so you know they’re good.

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  • NHL Power Rankings: No. 1 Blackhawks won't budge; Crosby's all-star mates; do it again, Daugavins

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo! Sports1 yr ago

    Sam McCaig’s weekly Power Rankings column will appear on Saturdays.

    POWER RANKINGS: The NHL’s top 10 teams

    1. Chicago Blackhawks: After opening the season with a 24-game point streak, the ‘Hawks endured the indignity of back-to-back regulation-time losses against Colorado and Edmonton before stabilizing with a shootout win over Columbus. All in all, not a bad showing for their worst week of the season.

    2. Anaheim Ducks: Everybody’s favorite runner-up, the Ducks have won five consecutive games – surrendering a total of four goals – and have 17 victories in their past 21 contests.

    3. Boston Bruins: The B’s won three times in four outings, which is on par with their pace this season. No big surprise, but the Bruins look more playoff-ready than any other team in the East.

    4. Pittsburgh Penguins: With Evgeni Malkin sidelined, The Crosby Show is playing to rave reviews. The Penguins’ team defense might be causing coach Dan Bylsma a few sleepless nights, but they’re scoring enough to stay out of trouble.

    5. Montreal Canadiens: The Habs are hanging in atop the East, though the Bruins and Pens are pushing hard. Montreal is riding a four-game winning streak, including three in a row on the road.

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  • NHL Power Rankings: The Streak is over; all-East all-star team; games of the week

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo! Sports1 yr ago

    Sam McCaig’s weekly Power Rankings column will appear on Saturdays.

    POWER RANKINGS: The NHL’s top 10 teams

    1. Chicago Blackhawks: It was a heckuva ride, but The Streak is over. (Long live The Streak!) But because of that incredible 24-game run to open the season, the 'Hawks can put it in cruise-control a bit in the second half and still make the playoffs in style.

    2. Anaheim Ducks: You know, if the ‘Hawks hadn’t gone half-a-season without a regulation loss, we’d all be praising the Ducks’ incredible rise from the dregs of the standings last season.

    3. Boston Bruins: They lost two in a row, but don’t worry – the last time that happened the B’s bounced back with six straight wins. Perhaps beating Toronto on Thursday night was the first step toward another six-game fun run.

    4. Pittsburgh Penguins: First, the good news: They’ve won three in a row, five out of seven and eight out of 11. The bad news? The Pens have surrendered at least three goals in eight of their past nine contests. So they’re scoring and winning, but the defense and goaltending need to improve.

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  • NHL Power Rankings: 'Hawks beyond hyperbole; Kopitar sparks Kings; games to watch

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo! Sports1 yr ago

    Sam McCaig’s weekly Power Rankings column will appear on Saturdays.

    POWER RANKINGS: The NHL’s top 10 teams

    1. Chicago Blackhawks: Running out of ways to describe the ‘Hawks and their stunning start. How’s this: They entered Friday’s game against Columbus fourth in the NHL in goals per game (3.10) and second in goals against (1.70). Do the math, and they were plus-27 in goal differential through 20 games. The Ducks were the only other team in the West in double-digits (plus-16).

    2. Anaheim Ducks: Thanks to their West Coast locale and Chicago’s record-breaking ways, the Ducks have been able to fly below the radar. Then you realize they’ve won 11 of their past 13 games, in large part due to a potent offense (3.33 goals per game, second overall) and a killer power play (29.3 percent).

    3. Boston Bruins: Camouflaged by the fact they’ve played the fewest games in the league, the Bruins have the second-best point percentage (.824) behind Chicago. Boston boasts two scoring lines, but of course they really do it with defense – they’re fourth in goals against (2.06) and first in penalty killing (93.9 percent).

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  • NHL Power Rankings: Looking up at the record-breaking Blackhawks; Leafs rising, Wings falling; Weber rebounds

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo! Sports1 yr ago

    Sam McCaig’s weekly Power Rankings column will appear on Saturdays.

    POWER RANKINGS: The NHL’s top 10 teams

    1. Chicago Blackhawks: They just set an NHL record for the best start to a season, earning a point in their first 17 games (14-0-3) and counting. Who else would be No. 1?

    2. Anaheim Ducks: Speaking of streaks, the Ducks are on a five-game run and have won nine of their past 10. They’re scoring (3.3 goals per game, T-2nd) and backup goalie Viktor Fasth was so good in his first nine games (8-0-0, 1.78 GAA, .933 SP) that Anaheim gave him a two-year extension.

    3. Boston Bruins: The B’s are top-10 in goals for and goals against, and they’ve got the best PK in the league (51-for-54, 94.4 percent). They can play it playoff rough or Sunday matinee smooth.

    4. New Jersey Devils: Nobody really expected the Devils to make the Stanley Cup final last season. Nobody really expected the Devils to shrug off the loss of UFA Zach Parise and have the best record in the East this season. But they’re Lou Lamoriello’s Devils. They win. That’s what they do.

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  • NHL Power Rankings: Beware 'Hawks, Ducks and Penguins; Rinne rises up; who'll replace Karlsson?

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo! Sports1 yr ago

    Sam McCaig’s weekly Power Rankings column will appear on Saturdays.

    POWER RANKINGS: The NHL’s top 10 teams

    1. Chicago Blackhawks: One day, the ‘Hawks will lose in regulation time. But with five straight home games on the schedule, it might not be anytime soon.

    2. Anaheim Ducks: Viktor Fasth has been a revelation in net – especially with Jonas Hiller bruised and bumpy – but make no mistake, the Ducks are doing it with their offense. Only Tampa Bay scores more than Anaheim’s 3.4 goals per game, and the Ducks are dominant 5-on-5, outscoring opponents by nearly a 2-to-1 margin.

    3. Boston Bruins: Take away the two losses to arch-rival Buffalo and the Bruins would be undefeated in regulation time, too.

    4. New Jersey Devils: David Clarkson’s power forward prowess is (deservedly) the hot topic in Jersey, but 36-year-old Patrik Elias is leading the team in scoring (18 points in 14 games) and plus/minus (plus-10). Not to mention, the octogenarian goaltending tandem of Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg are playing like they’re half their age.

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  • Power Rankings: Blackhawks rule road, NHL; Ducks' Fasth flies; Gagner's subdued streak

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo! Sports1 yr ago

    Sam McCaig’s weekly Power Rankings column will appear on Saturdays.

    POWER RANKINGS: The NHL’s top 10 teams

    1. Chicago Blackhawks: Their stars are scoring and goalie Corey Crawford’s stepping up like he did when he was a red-hot rookie (and not a slumping sophomore like last season). The ‘Hawks played nine of 11 games on the road, yet they were the only NHL team without a loss in regulation.

    2. Boston Bruins: The Bruins surrendered one goal in two games since suffering their only 60-minute defeat of the season, a 7-4 grudge match against the Buffalo Sabres.

    3. Pittsburgh Penguins: Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are starting to pile up points and the Penguins are riding a five-game winning streak that has vaulted them into first place in the East.

    4. Anaheim Ducks: More important than their NHL standing, the Ducks grabbed California bragging rights after wins over Los Angeles and San Jose this week.

    5. San Jose Sharks: The Sharks have sunk in the rankings due to a mini-slump – five goals in three games, all losses.

    6. New Jersey Devils: Patrik Elias leads the team in scoring and Martin Brodeur keeps winning and winning. In other news, grunge is back and did you hear about Monica Lewinsky?

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