Sam McCaig

  • The 10 most unbreakable Stanley Cup Final records

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 19 days ago

    Records are made to be broken. Except for these ones, which will stand forever:

    1. Most consecutive years in the Cup final: 10 (Montreal Canadiens, 1951-60 inclusive)

    When you’ve won the Stanley Cup 24 times like the Habs have, you’re no stranger to the NHL’s championship round (even if, say, you haven’t been there since 1993). But 10 straight appearances in the Cup final? That’s ridiculous, regardless of the “there were only six teams in the league” reality. It should be noted the Canadiens lost in the final four of the first five years, then captured an NHL-record five straight Cups thanks to Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau, Doug Harvey & Co.

    2. Most consecutive wins in the Cup final: 10 (Montreal Canadiens, 1976 through 1978)

    3. Shortest overtime in the Cup final: 9 seconds (Montreal Canadiens 3 at Calgary Flames 2 in Game 2, May 18, 1986)

    4. Most overtime wins in one series: 4 (Toronto Maple Leafs, 1951)

    5. Most penalty minutes by two teams in one series: 511 (Calgary Flames [256] vs. Montreal Canadiens [255] in 1986)

    6. Most career shutouts in the Cup final: 8 (Clint Benedict, Ottawa Senators [one in 1920, two in 1921, one in 1923], Montreal Maroons [three in 1926, one in 1928])

  • Top 10 NHL teams with most playoff wins since 2000

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    The Detroit Red Wings haven't qualified for the Stanley Cup final since losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009, but Hockeytown leads the NHL with 97 playoff wins in the 21st century.

    Here's a look at the league's top 10 teams with the most playoff wins since 2000 (through games played on May 20, 2016):


      Here are 10 takeaways on the top 10:

    1. The Streak: The Red Wings managed to extend their NHL playoff streak to 25 consecutive seasons, but added only one more win after bowing out in five games against Tampa Bay in the first round. Detroit has been eliminated in the first round four times in the past five years.

    2. Desperately seeking Stanley: The Sharks have earned the third-most playof wins since 2000, but the Cup remains ever elusive. At least they're getting closer, with their 2-1 series lead on St. Louis representing the first time San Jose has been ahead in the Western Conference final in four appearances.

    6. L.A. story: They've won two Stanley Cups in the last four four years, but the Kings couldn't crack the top 10. Los Angeles is 11th overall with 56 playoff wins since 2000.

  • NHL draft lottery: Last-place Leafs come out on top in our 10-spin simulation

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 2 mths ago

    The Leafs are a lock.

    No, not for the Stanley Cup anytime soon. (That’s crazy talk.) Rather, the Toronto Maple Leafs are a lock to win the 2016 NHL draft lottery and the right to (presumably) select Auston Matthews with the No. 1 overall pick.

    How do we know? Easy. We ran the NHL lottery simulator over at the aptly named And not just once, either. No, we ran the lottery simulator 10 times – and lo and behold, the Leafs ended up with the No. 1 pick four times, the only team to land in the No. 1 slot more than once. (Not to mention, Toronto ended up with a top-three pick nine times in the 10 simulations; the Winnipeg Jets were next with just three top-three results.)

    Here’s a look at the percentage chance for the 14 non-playoff teams at winning the first pick in the 2016 NHL draft:

    1. Toronto Maple Leafs 20%

    2. Edmonton Oilers 13.5%

    3. Vancouver Canucks 11.5%

    4. Columbus Blue Jackets 9.5%

    5. Calgary Flames 8.5%

    6. Winnipeg Jets 7.5%

    7. Arizona Coyotes 6.5%

    8. Buffalo Sabres 6%

    9. Montreal Canadiens 5%

    10. Colorado Avalanche 3.5%

    11. New Jersey Devils 3%

    12. Ottawa Senators 2.5%

    13. Carolina Hurricanes 2%

    14. Boston Bruins 1%

  • 10 questions for the final week of the NHL regular season

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 2 mths ago

    Entering the final week of the 2015-16 NHL regular season, here are 10 questions looking for answers:

    1. Can anyone steal the Hart Trophy from Patrick Kane?

    It would be a stunning surprise if Kane isn’t named the NHL’s MVP. The Blackhawks winger has been the NHL’s wire-to-wire scoring leader, highlighted by a 26-game point streak which was the league’s longest since 1992-93. He should crack 100 points; the Stars’ Jamie Benn is the only other player who might hit 90 (unless Sidney Crosby goes bonkers in Pittsburgh’s final five games). Capitals goalie Braden Holtby and Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson were in the running for a while, but Holtby had a few bumpy outings down the stretch and Ottawa missing the playoffs all but eliminates Karlsson.    

    2. Will Caps goalie Braden Holtby win 50 games?

    3. Does Connor McDavid have a chance to win the Calder Trophy?

    4. Drew Doughty or Erik Karlsson for the Norris Trophy?

    5. Does Alex Ovechkin have a shot at 50 goals?

    6. Who’s the odd team out in the race for wild-card playoff spots in the East?

    7. Do the Avs have a chance at a wild card in the West?

    8. Who wins the West, the Stars or the Blues?

    9. Who finishes last overall?

  • March madness: 50 reasons why the NHL is better than a college basketball tournament

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 3 mths ago

    If this was Twitter, this would be hashtagged #50ReasonsToPleaseLikeMySport. But it’s not Twitter, it’s the whole dang Internet. So, here are 50 reasons why the NHL is better than a certain college basketball tournament:

    1. By definition, there can only be one No. 1 seed. This year, it’s the Washington Capitals.

    2. Unlike the NCAA, in the NHL the No. 16 seed beats the No. 1 seed every once in a while. For example, the 16th-place Philadelphia Flyers have played the Capitals three times this season, and beaten them once.

    3. We don’t know much about hockey’s origin, but we do know this: peach baskets were not involved.

    4. Size doesn’t matter: Johnny Gaudreau scores more often than Zdeno Chara.

    5. Nashville slam-dunk: The best team in middle Tennessee state is the Predators.

    6. Duke rebuke: The Devils aren’t blue, the Blues and Jackets are.

    7. The NHL pays its players for the entertainment they provide.

    8. Sixty-four teams make the playoffs? Seems a bit much, no?

    9. Teams from two different countries have a chance to win it all. (Well, most years.)

    10. The floor is made of solid ice.

    11. The players are faster.

    12. The shots are faster.

    13. The last two minutes of the game are way faster.

  • Best of the NHL sophomores: First and Second All-Star Teams

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 4 mths ago

    Pity the poor NHL sophomores. No longer are they the league’s rookie darlings, no longer are they the wide-eyed kids full of promise and potential and endless optimism. In their second NHL season they’re faced with the weight of expectations -- to prove that their impressive first year wasn’t a fluke or prove that they belong in the league at all.

    Rookies have the Calder Trophy, but there’s no prize for being the best second-year player in the NHL. Until now. Here are our picks for the NHL Sophomore First and Second All-Star Teams.

    NHL Sophomores: First All-Star Team


    Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals: After 11 goals and 37 points in 80 games last season (and three goals and nine points in a 17-game NHL stint in 2013-14), Kuznetsov is the highest-scoring Russian-born player on Alex Ovechkin’s Capitals and firmly entrenched among the NHL’s top 10 point producers. In other words, he’s doing pretty well. He’s strong, sublimely skilled and a superb skater. It’s hard to believe he lasted until the 26th pick of the 2010 NHL draft.



    NHL Sophomores: Second All-Star Team





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

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 4 mths 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 5 mths 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 6 mths 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.

  • The top 5 candidates for the top 5 NHL trophies (Hart, Norris, Vezina, Calder and ... one more)

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 6 mths ago

    Let’s be honest. We probably can’t even agree on the top five NHL trophies, never mind the top five candidates for each one through the first two months of the 2015-16 NHL season.

    But let’s give it our best shot anyway…


    1. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

    2. Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars

    3. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers

    4. Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals

    5. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

    Top 5 honorable mentions: Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars; Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals; Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens; Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks; Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins.

    Kane’s scoring streak makes him the MVP so far. It’s not a runaway, but it will be if the Blackhawks star continues to produce at a best-in-20-NHL-seasons pace. Benn, Lundqvist and Holtby are in the second tier, with the time and acumen to catch up. Karlsson’s the outsider among the top five but if he drives the Sens to near the top of the Eastern Conference, he’s got a chance at becoming the first defenseman to win the Hart Trophy since Chris Pronger in 1999-2000.


    1. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

    2. John Klingberg, Dallas Stars

    3. P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens