- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy5 hrs ago
Brent Burns pours some beer from the cup for Brad Marchand (Getty Images)
TORONTO – The NHL is usually pretty adept at giving us too much of a good thing.
Hey, you like hockey jerseys? We’ll have teams wear a different one every few games! Hey, you like outdoor games? Here’s four of them a season! Hey, you like 4-on-4? How about 3-on-3? How about if you like 3-on-3 enough, we make the whole All-Star Game 3-on-3?!
This is what makes the League’s reaction to the World Cup of Hockey so weird. Based on what worked and what didn’t work, you’d expect it would have been ‘Hey, you like Team Europe and Team North America? Here’s both of them, plus Team EuropeBabies, with under-23 European players. Or maybe just European babies. Who can say?!’
Instead, it’s very possible that we’ve seen the last of Team North America and Team Europe. The NHL and the NHLPA have indicated the World Cup of Hockey will likely return in 2020 as a more “traditional” tournament featuring at least eight actual nations and not six countries plus two all-star teams.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy5 hrs ago
Last Season: 46-27-9 (101 points), 3rd in the Metropolitan, 4th in the East.
By mid-November last year, the Rangers were one of the hottest teams in the NHL. They held a 14-2-2 record and appeared to be primed to challenge for the best record in the NHL for a second straight season.
A lot of this had to do with goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who held a .935 save percentage through the first two months of the season.
But New York struggled with some inconsistency – especially in the month of December where they won three just games.
Rick Nash had a down year, dropping from 42 goals to 15 – though he only played 60 games because of an injury. Mats Zuccarello led the team with 61 points. No player on New York scored more than Derick Brassard’s 27 goals.
The Rangers tried to jumpstart their offense by dealing for Eric Staal at the trade deadline but the trade was a bust with Staal getting just six points in 20 games while averaging 16:15 of ice-time.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy21 hrs ago
During the World Cup of Hockey, Christian Ehrhoff’s strong play drew praise from his teammates and his coach.
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Boston Bruins also took notice of Ehrhoff, who came into the tournament without a pro contract, and have agreed to a professional tryout with the 34-year-old German blueliner. At the World Cup, Ehrhoff notched three assists and held up a plus-2 rating in six games for Europe.
“I know I can play somewhere in this world if I want to, so it’s not that I will sit at home and not do anything,” Ehrhoff said during the World Cup final series when asked about his contract situation. “I feel good about my game and I just focus on the next task with Team Europe.”
During the tournament, Ehrhoff paired with defenseman Mark Streit and this duo turned into a solid puck-moving pair for Team Europe.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy1 day ago
The New York Islanders broke 100 points for the second straight season, going 45-27-10 (100 points) while taking the first wild card in the Eastern Conference. Only this time, the Islanders won a round in the playoffs, dispatching Atlantic Division champion Florida in six games, before losing to that other Sunshine State team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, in five games.
The season was the Islanders’ first at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where it was a clunky transition for fans, the views were somewhat obstructed and the atmosphere didn’t really get rocking outside of the Rangers’ visits and the playoffs. Oh, and those jerseys stunk.
John Tavares led the Islanders with 33 goals and 70 points, with Kyle Okposo second with 64 points and Frans Nielsen third with 53 points. The latter two players are now former Islanders, bolting to the Sabres and Red Wings on rich free-agent deals. Matt Martin, one of the team’s best grinders, left for Toronto.
- Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy1 day ago
There are three particularly notable unsigned restricted free agent defensemen left in the NHL.
One is Jacob Trouba, he of the now-infamous trade demand that likely will not be met. There’s also Hampus Lindholm, whom the latest rumors say is seeking something like $48 million-plus for the next eight seasons. Then finally, there’s Rasmus Ristolainen, possibly the most amiable of the group because he’s the only one actually practicing with his team even as he remains unsigned.
What’s interesting about all three is that, as discussed Thursday, TSN’s Bob McKenzie pretty much believes all their asks are the same. They probably all want at least $6 million AAV on longer-term deals. Maybe they don’t want to max it out on term, but they want to be assured lots of money at least through what we can only assume is going to be another work stoppage in the next few years.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy1 day ago
TORONTO – When we first meet Wolverine in the original “X-Men” film, he’s working as a cage-fighter in Laughlin City, Alberta. Rubes from the crowd step into the ring, thinking they’re tough and talented enough to take him down, and blissfully unaware that he’s actually a mutant: Indestructible metal grafted onto his bones, the instincts of a predator, the power to heal instantly from any wound.
Basically, he’s unbeatable.
For the last two weeks, the World Cup of Hockey was that ring and Team Canada bared its adamantium claws. Seven teams wanted the chance to enter the ring, on a fool’s errand. The Canadians were the ones left standing, with hardly a scratch from their battles, bub.
The World Cup of Hockey was the World Cup of Canada, and not just because it was staged in Toronto as a made-for-Canada television event. There were eight teams in the tournament. Only one of them, Canada, was trying to win the World Cup, a.k.a. an exploded military artillery shell encased in acrylic. The other seven were vying for a more impressive prize: a win over Canada.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy1 day ago
In this edition of Marek Vs. Wyshynski, the boys are talking about:
– Live from the ACC, the World Cup of Hockey’s legacy now that it’s over.
– What to make of Team Canada and Team USA going forward.
– Our favorite things from the World Cup, and its future.
– RFAs and training camp.
– Johnny Gaudreau.
– The Jacob Trouba controversy in Winnipeg.
– Reader mail
– News and notes from around the NHL.
The Marek vs. Wyshynski Podcast is hosted by Jeff Marek of Sportsnet and Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo Sports, breaking down the NHL on a (somewhat) daily basis with their particular brand of whimsy and with guest voices from around the hockey world. MvsW streams live while its being recorded: LISTEN HERE! [And if that doesn’t work, try here.]
- Jen Neale at Puck Daddy1 day ago
Pretty much everyone except Team Europe was settled on the fact that Team Canada was going to win the first World Cup of Hockey since 2004.
The question was then: how would they celebrate?
This isn’t the Stanley Cup. Nor is it winning a gold medal at the Olympics, or even winning a gold at the World Champions for that matter. Let’s get real, this is an NHL tournament to make some extra cash; not a major milestone.
But still, they won and DEM BOYZ from Canada got to celebrate their way with polite handshakes, one armed hugs and high fives.
First, game the shedding of the gear. Usually you see gloves, sticks and helmets to flying in the final seconds of Stanley Cup clinching game. Tonight, they shook off equipment as they skated over to Carey Price or before they left the bench.
Sidney Crosby was named the tournament MVP. He didn’t receive a mini trophy or something new. He got a clear plaque, reminiscent of those you’d see in middle-management offices for ‘Best Regional Manager by Pound of Paper Sold in Scranton.’
You can barely see it against Crosby’s jersey. We don’t know the backstory behind the ‘trophy,’ but we can only assume they carved it out of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude.
- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy1 day ago
TORONTO – They gathered in Quebec City in early September as 23 players representing eight countries from 21 different NHL clubs. They leave Toronto as a team that surprised everyone in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Team Europe’s World Cup dreams fell apart in a span of 129 seconds late in the third period of Game 2 of the final against Canada. An Anze Kopitar penalty led to a Patrice Bergeron power-play goal, igniting a very, very red Air Canada Centre crowd. Ralph Krueger’s squad still had a chance with a late power-play opportunity, but their hopes for a dramatic finish in their favor was dashed when Jonathan Toews found a streaking Brad Marchand for the eventual shorthanded winner.
“Heartbreaking. It’s a very, very tough loss,” said Team Europe defenseman Mark Streit. “It’s tough to find the right words right now.”
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy1 day ago
TORONTO – At the World Cup pre-tournament games for Team Canada in Ottawa, Brad Marchand was booed. He was also booed when the team got to Toronto for the start of the event.
It didn’t matter to the local fans that Marchand wasn’t on the hated Boston Bruins for this event and actually playing for their Team Canada. They still wanted to let Marchand know their displeasure for him.
But when Marchand gripped his hands around the World Cup trophy to lift it over his head, all of the Canadian fans in the Air Canada Centre cheered loudly for the 5-foot-9, 181-pound Halifax native.
“To be on a team like this and to have success and to win with a team like this, it’s an incredible feeling,” Marchand said. “I think all of Canada gets behind that and they all feel the enjoyment of that, feel the success of that and we all enjoy it together. It’s not just our team but all of Canada will be celebrating tonight.”