Sam McCaig

  • 40 years after Darryl Sittler's 10-point game: Top 10 unbreakable NHL records

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    Forty years ago on Feb. 7, 1976, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Darryl Sittler set an NHL record that has never been matched -- and in all likelihood, it never will be. Somehow, Sittler scored 10 points in a single game, beating Boston Bruins goalie Dave Reece for six goals and four assists in an 11-4 thumping. Sittler went on to the Hockey Hall of Fame, Reece never played in the NHL again.

    In honor of Sittler’s singular achievement, here are 10 other NHL individual records that won’t be broken any time soon:

    10. Mario Lemieux’s 13 shorthanded goals in 1988-89

    Through 50 games this season, Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau led the NHL with five shorties – and that’s already the most by any NHL player since 2010-11, when the Islanders’ Frans Nielsen had seven. In the past 20 years, the most shorthanded goals in a single season is nine, by Boston’s Brian Rolston in 2001-02.

    9. Grant Fuhr’s 14 assists in 1983-84

    8. Dave Schultz’s 472 penalty minutes in 1974-75

    7. Bobby Orr’s plus-124 rating in 1970-71

    6. Martin Brodeur’s 691 career wins

    5. Paul Coffey’s 48 goals in 1985-86

    4. Teemu Selanne’s 76 goals as a rookie in 1992-93

    3. Bill Mosienko’s three goals in 21 seconds


  • Hockey at the Half: The NHL’s top 10 teams, forwards, defensemen, goalies & rookies so far

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 29 days ago

    Saturday represented the midway point of the 2015-16 NHL season, so here’s a top 10-style check-in on what has happened so far.

    These top 10 rankings might be as noteworthy for who’s missing as who made it. For example:

    — Carey Price, the reigning NHL MVP, is nowhere to be found. Because injuries are the worst.

    — The Tampa Bay Lightning, the up-and-comers who made it to the Stanley Cup final last spring, didn’t crack the top 10 teams. Nor did Steven Stamkos or Ben Bishop rate among the NHL’s best skaters and goalies, respectively.

    — No Sidney Crosby. No Evgeni Malkin. No Pittsburgh Penguins at all, in fact, save for Marc-Andre Fleury.

    — Ryan Getzlaf and the Anaheim Ducks? Not even close.

    — Perhaps the biggest surprise of all: Connor McDavid isn’t among the top 10 rookies. Because injuries are the worst.

    TOP 10 TEAMS

    1. Washington Capitals: They’ve got it all – scoring, defense, goaltending, depth, coaching. They haven’t won the Stanley Cup since entering the NHL in 1974-75. They’re due.

    3. Chicago Blackhawks: The core, the core, the core.

    4. Los Angeles Kings: They won the Stanley Cup in 2012. They won the Stanley Cup in 2014. Now it’s 2016. You do the math.



  • Hockey holiday gift guide: 30 presents for the NHL's 30 teams

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    For some reason, we’re in the gift-giving mood. It must be the time of year.

    Here’s how we’d shower the NHL’s 30 teams with presents:

    Anaheim Ducks: Goals. Sure, pretty much every team in the league needs more scoring, but the Ducks need more scoring on a maybe-they-should’ve-signed-Alexander-Semin level. They’re the only team in the NHL averaging less than two goals per game, at a paltry 1.83. Ryan Getzlaf, a perennial MVP-caliber player, has one goal in 26 games. If you were Corey Perry’s linemate for 26 NHL games, you might have one goal.

    Arizona Coyotes: More rookies. Why not? The Coyotes are playing four first-year players regularly, and they like what they see. Max Domi is leading the team in points and tied with Anthony Duclair for second in goals with 10. Another forward, Jordan Martinook, doesn’t get the recognition but he’s playing 15-plus minutes a night, while defenseman Klas Dahlbeck is skating 16:37 per game and was a key part in the deal that sent Antonie Vermette to Chicago last season.

    Calgary Flames: A bona fide, gold-plated, guaranteed No. 1 goaltender. With a bow on top.

    Carolina Hurricanes: See Flames, Calgary.

    Columbus Blue Jackets: A do-over.

  • 10 snapshots of the NHL season so far: Stars, streaks and big sticks

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 2 mths ago

    And just like that, the first quarter of the 2015-16 NHL season has come and gone. Here are 10 highlights – with a lowlight or two thrown in -- through the first seven weeks of the schedule:

    Doing it again in Dallas: The secret’s been out on Jamie Benn for a quite a while, but with a league-leading 16 goals through 22 games he was on a pace for 60 this season. That would obliterate his personal best of 35 set last year, and Benn would join Steven Stamkos (60 goals in 2011-112) and Alex Ovechkin (65 in 2007-08) as the only NHL players to reach 60 since Jaromir Jagr – who else? – scored 62 in 1995-96.

    Another shooting Star: Dallas’ John Klingberg went from the AHL at the start of last season to battling Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson for the scoring lead among NHL defensemen through the first quarter of the current campaign. And he’s only 23, there’s more to come. Then again, Karlsson is only 25. Sweden’s power play should be pretty good at the 2018 Olympics (assuming, you know, the NHL goes to the Games).

  • Alex Ovechkin takes over Russia: Top 10 all-time NHL goal-scorers by country

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 2 mths ago

    With Alex Ovechkin overtaking Sergei Fedorov as the Russian player with the most career goals in NHL history, we wanted to take a look at the all-time top 10 goal-scorers for the seven heavyweight hockey nations: Canada, United States, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Slovakia and Sweden.

    In honor of Ovechkin’s milestone we’ll start with Russia; there are a few notes below each country’s top 10 list.


    1. Alex Ovechkin 484

    2. Sergei Fedorov 483

    3. Alexander Mogilny 473

    4. Pavel Bure 437

    5. Alex Kovalev 430

    6. Ilya Kovalchuk 417

    7. Vyachelsav Kozlov 356

    8. Alexei Yashin 337

    9. Pavel Datsyuk 298

    10. Evgeni Malkin 275

    Ovechkin, at 30 years old, is far from finished. Assuming good health, he should be able to hit 700 goals – and maybe quite a bit more. Whether he can challenge (spoiler alert) Wayne Gretzky’s all-time NHL goal mark is doubtful; for all of his exploits, he’s only a little over halfway to 894. Ovechkin (484 goals in 777 games) and Pavel Bure (437 goals in 702 games) are tied for Russia’s all-time goals-per-game pace at 0.62. Also notable is Ilya Kovalchuk, who made it to 417 goals in just 816 NHL games before heading back home to play in the KHL.


    1. Wayne Gretzky 894


  • NHL Rookie Race: Odds-on favorites and long shots after the Connor McDavid injury

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 2 mths ago

    Connor McDavid, the Edmonton Oilers’ 18-year-old kid phenom who was pretty much everybody’s pick to claim the 2016 Calder Trophy, is out with a broken collarbone until who knows when. According to the team, it’s a matter of “months,” which opens up the NHL’s rookie race considerably. Before his injury, McDavid was listed as a heavy 1/4 favorite by online oddsmakers Bodog to claim the Calder, with his draft rival Jack Eichel given the second-best chance at 5/1.

    But all of that has changed with McDavid sidelined: here’s a look at the revamped rookie race, from the new favorites to the second tier to the best of the rest, plus a few first-year goalies. (Note: Odds have been updated post-McDavid injury; statistics are as of Thursday night.)


    Jack Eichel, C, Buffalo, 19 years old (drafted 2nd overall in 2015)

    Bodog odds for the Calder Trophy: 3/1

    Notable: The Sabres’ young gun has started to heat up since McDavid went down, and he’s considered a co-favorite for the Calder. Eichel was leading all rookies with 56 shots through 15 games and was second among first-year forwards in ice time at 18:48 per contest. Not bad for a kid who just turned 19 on Oct. 28.


  • The Early NHL Awards: Handing out trophies at the 10-game mark

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 3 mths ago

    The 150th game of the 2015-16 NHL regular season was played on Friday night, which averages out to 10 games per team. And since it’s never too early to hand out some hardware, here are 10 awards celebrating the best (and worst) 10-game starts to the season:

    10-game Stanley Cup: Montreal Canadiens

    Considering they won their first nine games, this was an easy one.

    10-game MVP: Carey Price, Montreal

    Price, the reigning NHL MVP, was the biggest reason the Habs won their first nine games. Because of course he was.

    10-game Point Man: Jamie Benn, Dallas

    The 2014-15 NHL scoring leader picked up where he left off, leading the league with nine goals and 17 points. The Stars captain collected at least one point in nine of his first 10 games -- including six multi-point efforts.

    10-game Gretzky Award: Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary

    It’s a tire fire in Calgary but the guy they call 'Johnny Hockey’ has provided some relief for the Flames, averaging an assist per game through 11 outings.

    10-game Streaker: David Krejci, Boston

    10-game Calder Kid: Connor McDavid, Edmonton

    10-game Special Team: New York Islanders

    10-game Lottery Pick: Calgary Flames

    10-game Guys With Fewer Points Than Stars Goalie Antti Niemi

  • Open Ice: Ducks don't score, Alex Ovechkin's all-time goal chase, NHL rookie roots

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 3 mths ago

    Three things: The Ducks aren't scoring at a remarkable rate; Alex Ovechkin's all-time goal story; and, the NHL's leading rookies and where they came from.

    ANAHEIM POWER OUTAGE: The Anaheim Ducks have won three straight Pacific Division titles, winning more than 50 games in each of the past two seasons (and racking up 30 victories in the 48-game lockout-shortened 2012-13 season). They finished fourth overall, second overall and third overall in the league standings over the past three seasons. They made it to the Western Conference final last spring, losing out to the eventual Stanley Cup-champion Chicago Blackhawks in a hard-fought seven-game series.

    The Anaheim Ducks are a good hockey team.

    But, boy, they sure aren’t playing like it.

    One win in six games. Six goals in six games. They’ve been shut out three times. They’ve scored a total of two goals in their five losses.

    Depth forwards Rickard Rakell, Mike Santorelli, Jiri Sekac and defensemen Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen, Cam Fowler are tied for the team lead in goals with one apiece. Rakell, Santorelli and Lindholm are tied for the team scoring lead with two points apiece.

    For everybody else, it’s a bunch of zeroes.

  • The Streakers: Best & worst starts in NHL history (and who might set new mark in 2015-16)

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 3 mths ago

    We’re going streaking!

    Here’s a look at three NHL record streaks from the start of season, and the likelihood of new marks being established in 2015-16:

    1. The NHL record: Longest winning streak from start of season

    Believe it or not, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres share this one. The 1993-94 Leafs won 10 straight games, and the Sabres repeated the feat in 2006-07.

    The 2015-16 contender: Montreal Canadiens

    The Habs lead the NHL with a 5-0-0 record, the first time in franchise history they’ve won five consecutive games to begin the season. The Detroit Red Wings (3-0-0), Minnesota Wild (3-0-0) and San Jose Sharks (3-0-0) took perfect records into Friday’s night NHL schedule.

    2. The NHL record: Longest point streak from start of season

    You don’t have to go too far back for this one. The 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks began the lockout-shortened 48-game campaign with points in 24 consecutive games (21 wins, three OT/SO losses), and they still had enough left in the tank to claim the Stanley Cup.

    The contender: Same as above, the Montreal Canadiens

    The chances: About the same as rookie netminder Mike Condon unseating superstar Carey Price as the Habs’ starting goalie … not very good.