Sean Leahy

  • Mark Giordano's journey from Russia to Norris Trophy contender

    Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy 8 hrs ago

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mark Giordano understood the risk he was taking. At 23 and still finding his way through professional hockey, the Calgary Flames defenseman wanted a one-way contract, but the team preferred to keep the restricted free agent in the fold on a two-way deal. So off to Moscow he went with an $800,000 (US) contract and more ice time to come.

    Spurning the Flames’ offer, Giordano signed with Dynamo Moscow of the Russian Super League. He played 50 games that season, scoring four times and recording 12 points while helping the team reach the quarterfinals.

    "I think he made a big mistake," said then-Flames general manager Darryl Sutter. "A player that's finishing (a three-year) entry-level contract with limited experience in the National Hockey League is certainly not going to enhance his career by going overseas. If you haven't played 100 games or made a significant impact on an NHL team in Year 3, you're not full-fledged. You've got to make the team again."

    - - - - - - -

    MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

  • Pressure from within driving Roberto Luongo to succeed

    Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy 9 hrs ago

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Roberto Luongo is surrounded by some of the biggest names in the NHL during All-Star weekend. Stanley Cup champions. Scoring leaders. Players currently on the top teams in the league at the moment. Whenever he's bumped into one of them, the friendly greeting is followed by compliments.

    The kind words vary from opponents impressed with the Florida Panthers’ success this season to noting just how tough it is to play against the Cats.

    The last four games, however, have put the Panthers in a hole. They sit seven points behind the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins for a wild card spot. But the fact that they’re even in a position to chase a playoff berth is a testament to the team built by general manager Dale Tallon and coaching job by Gerard Gallant. But it also wouldn’t be possible without Luongo’s presence in goal. 

    “We still have a long ways to go,” Luongo said during NHL All-Star Media Day on Friday. “We know we want to get to the playoffs and we have the toughest part of our season coming up for us.”

    So has that happiness been the driving force behind Luongo’s All-Star calibre play?

    - - - - - - -

    MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

  • Tyler Johnson out of All-Star Game with injury; won't face suspension

    Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy 20 hrs ago

    Tyler Johnson made it to All-Star Weekend, but he was banged up. A lower-body injury lingered from the Tampa Bay Lightning’s last game before the break on against Vancouver. Initially, he was ruled out for the Skills Competition, with hopes he could suit up for the game on Sunday.

    But Johnson won’t be repping Team Toews as he was ruled out of the All-Star Game. But if healthy by Tuesday the Lightning forward won’t have to miss the team’s first game after the break, a rule put in place to stop players from pulling out.

    Tyler Johnson is out for Sunday's game. Lower body. But eligible to play for Tampa (if healthy) first game back because he came here.

    The rule is if you physically show up for all star weekend and pull out there's no suspension

    This is like the Sidney Crosby situation from the 2009 All-Star Game in Montreal. The Pittsburgh Penguins captain had a knee injury and was ruled out of the game that year. He showed up at Bell Centre and walked out during introductions to wave to the crowd and avoided a suspension by the league.

    - - - - - - -

    MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

  • Patrick Kane wins NHL Accuracy Shooting competition (Video)

    Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy 23 hrs ago

    Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have developed a friendly rivalry since they joined the Chicago Blackhawks, and on Saturday it continued in the NHL Accuracy Shooting competition.

    Kane got the best of the Blackhawks captain, winning the event after hitting four targets in a time of 13.529, while Toews completed it in 16.307. 

    There was hope that Nick Foligno would take the honors in front of Blue Jackerts fans after he briefly took over the lead, but Kane was just a hair quicker than his All-Star teammate. 

    The victory for Team Foligno increased their lead in the competition to 10-1 over Team Toews.

    FINAL RESULTS: 

    Patrick Kane: 13.529

    Nick Foligno: 13:674

    Ryan Getzlaf: 14:105

    Jonathan Toews: 16.307

    Patrice Bergeron: 17.038

    Radim Vrbata: 22.141

    Bobby Ryan: 30.914

    - - - - - - -

    Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy

    MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

  • Jonathan Drouin wins NHL Fastest Skater competition (Video)

    Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy 23 hrs ago

    Jonathan Drouin won’t be playing in Sunday’s All-Star Game, so he did all of his work during the Skills Competition. The Tampa Bay Lightning rookie won the Fastest Skater competition with a time of 13.103 helping Team Foligno grab an early 5-0 lead on Team Toews.

    Your browser does not support iframes.

    What was Drouin's strategy?  "Just balls out pretty much, and make sure you don't fall."

    The event began in humorous fashion with a heat between Phil Kessel and Tyler Seguin, because why not. Kessel ended up beating Seguin in a close race.

    Drouin’s time is the second fastest ever behind Carl Hagelin’s 13.218 since they revised the event in 2008.

    FINAL RESULTS:

    Jonathan Drouin 13.103

    Mike Hoffman 13.163

    Phil Kessel 13.596

    Tyler Seguin 13.631

    Jiri Sekac 13.683

    Aaron Ekblad 14.048

    Zemgus Girgensons 14.101

    Vladimir Tarasenko 14.386

    - - - - - - -

    Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy

  • Filip Forsberg, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins win cars as All-Star Fantasy Draft's final two picks

    Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy 1 day ago

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Filip Forsberg’s driveway has become crowded in the past two weeks. Earlier this month, the Nashville Predators rookie bought a brand new Jaguar. On Friday, he and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers were the final two picks of the 2015 NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft and awarded 2015 Honda Accords.

    So does Forsberg plan on keeping his new, less expensive ride?

    “I don't know,” he said. “I've got to talk to my family if they want a new car. You never have too many cars, I guess. We'll see what happens.”

    The NHL added a twist to the end of the All-Star Fantasy Draft this year, allowing for a fan vote to decide who would end up being the final pick. Nugent-Hopkins won, giving Forsberg the honor, but the new ending saw both earn cars.

    The night played out like Nugent-Hopkins had feared, but worked out in the end. 

    “The pick that I didn’t want to go was second-to-last because then you wait the whole time and then you don’t get the car,” he said, “so that was a nice little surprise there.”

    Nugent-Hopkins said his brother had already laid claim to the car prior to the draft. “He had no faith in me either."

    - - - - - - -

    MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

     

  • Jonathan Drouin using healthy scratches as learning experience

    Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy 2 days ago

    COLUMBUS, Ohio —Steven Stamkos can relate to Jonathan Drouin. He too was a healthy scratch during his rookie season with the Tampa Bay Lightning. But that experience, plus the firing of Barry Melrose, helped him become the player who he is today.

    So when the highly-touted Drouin struggled early on this season head coach Jon Cooper felt the 19-year old winger needed to watch instead of play. He also spoke with Stamkos about that experience and the captain told him how disappointing it was, but the time in the press box benefited him in the longrun.

    That’s what Drouin is hoping, as through 37 games he only has two goals and 18 points. This after a summer of hype that featured many pegging him as a potential Calder Trophy winner. 

    Drouin, like many rookies when they enter the NHL, has gone through a learning experience. The game is faster. The opponents are bigger. It can be a challenge finding success after making the jump from junior.

    Drouin’s time in the press box made him see things that he wasn’t seeing out on the ice. It opened his eyes to what truly works at the NHL level and what he once could do in junior on a regular basis wasn’t going to come as easy.

    - - - - - - -

  • Miss Canada's outrageous hockey tribute; Rinaldo's hearing set; Bieksa out indefinitely (Puck Headlines)

    Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy 3 days ago

    Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

    • From the Miss Universe competition, via @siomo. We're pretty sure it's Miss Uruguay.

    • Zac Rinaldo’s hearing with the DoPS will take place Monday afternoon. [Broad Street Hockey]

    • Remember Redfield T. Baum? He’s still dealing with the Coyotes mess and on Wednesday recommended that the NHL be denied nearly all of its $145 million claim in damages against former franchise owner Jerry Moyes. [Globe and Mail

    Awesome series: Interviews with DC ambassadors from hockey nations. Here's Finnish Ambassador to the US, her Excellency Ritva Koukke-Ronde. [Puck Buddys]

    MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

  • Farewell Ray Whitney, hockey videobombing pioneer (Video)

    Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy 3 days ago

    Ray Whitney announced his retirement on Wednesday after 1,330 games in the NHL. He was a productive player, hitting the 20-goal mark ten times, finishing with 385 goals and 1,064 points. He was two-time All-Star and won the Stanley Cup in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes.

    In the final few seasons of his NHL career, “The Wizard” became known for something else, something that spiced up those cliche filled pre-game on-ice interviews with players. Efforting to loosen things up, especially when times were tough, Whitney began to videobomb his teammates, a routine that turned into a “Where’s Whitney” bit among Coyotes fans.

    Here’s Whitney doing it behind Coyotes associate coach Jim Playfair:

    …and a young Kyle Turris:

    …and Adrian Aucoin: 

    …and Tyler Seguin:

    Whitney explained to Fox Sports Arizona’s Todd Walsh in 2011 that his goal was to try and make whatever teammate was being interview as uncomfortable as possible.

    - - - - - - -

    MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

  • Watch Garret Sparks rock out on air guitar during ECHL All-Star Game (Video)

    Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy 3 days ago

    Look, we’ve all done it. You’re at a bar having a few pops and suddenly the cover band playing that night breaks into some 1980s or '90s rock song that gets you going. You tell your friends to move aside and you pull out the air guitar and go to work.

    No? Just me then? Fine.

    Orlando Solar Bears goaltender Garret Sparks was feeling it during Wednesday’s ECHL All-Star Game. During an intermission, the Amway Center DJ flipped on Guns N' Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and Sparks went full-on Slash with his goalie stick.

    Via YouTuber BeforeTaxes:

    The ECHL All-Stars ended up beating the Orlando All-Stars 8-4 with Myles Bell of the Evansville Ice Men winning most valuable player honors.

    But to paraphrase Kevin Durant: Garret, you the real MVP.

    Stick-tap The Penalty Box

    - - - - - - -

    More from Yahoo hockey: