- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy1 hr ago
(Puck Daddy presents its annual look back at the year in hockey. Check back every day through the New Year for our many lists and hot takes.)
After 65 minutes of hockey, the NHL has determined that a best-of-3 shootout competition shall take place to determine a winner. Sure, we'd love to see more actual, you know, hockey, but the shootout does allow for some players to show off their creativity.
During the 1994 Olympic gold medal game, Peter Forsberg popularized Kent Nilsson's slick move he pulled off versus the U.S. in 1989. All these years later, the move hasn't been forgotten, as showcased by John Tavares, Mikhail Grabovski, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Nikita Kucherov, among others in 2013.
But while the Forsberg/Nilsson move is always pretty to see, 10 other players went into their trick bags to give us the top 10 shootout goals of 2013.
10. Vladimir Tkachyov, KHL Ak Bars Kazan scrimmage
A preseason intra-squad scrimmage shootout saw Tkachyov spin his way onto our list:
9. Mason Raymond vs. Columbus (March 13)
- Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy3 hrs ago
The immediate reaction to Alex Steen's new deal with the St. Louis Blues, which will pay him $5.8 million against the cap in each of the next three seasons, was to scoff.
Giving a player like Steen $5.8 million a season during a period in which he will age from 30 to 33 seems a bit foolish, when you consider it's about a 63 percent raise for about one-third of a career season.
Remember all that talk that he might be able to keep up with Alex Ovechkin in the goal-scoring race? It was ill-founded, and it seems that when a guy stops shooting 23.8 percent, which he did in scoring 20 goals in his first 25 games, things get a lot more difficult; to wit, before Thursday's two-goal effort he had just two goals in his previous nine games, on 28 shots, in the month of December, which portends that regression is here, and will probably stick around for most of the rest of the season. Very few guys, you see, can shoot better than 20 percent for a full season in the NHL these days.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy9 hrs ago
The opportunity to snag a loose puck in the stands at an NHL game doesn’t come around often; and when the rubber disc does go flying from the rink into the seats, chances are there’s a some tall, aggressive person that’ll snag it before, say, a young fan gets their shot at the puck.
Perhaps knowing this, a young Tampa Bay Lightning fan put his faith in the holiday spirit to produce a souvenir puck at their game against the Nashville Predators on Thursday. He sat near the glass, holding a sign that read “ALL I WANT FOR XMAS IS A HOCKEY PUCK.”
Santa must have heard him. Or, at the very least, Santa let some dude in the neighboring section know about this Christmas wish.
In the second period, a puck flew over the glass and was caught by a Lightning fan. As he was celebrating his conquest, the boy held out his Christmas puck wish sign. The fan immediately handed the puck over to the young lad, pointed at him with the universal sign for “you da man!” and the fans cheered the selfless act as the young fan waved the puck in the air.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy10 hrs ago
Alec Martinez #27 and Ben Scrivens #54 of the Los Angeles Kings use a sign to retrieve a soccer ball prior to the game against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center on December 19, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)
No. 1 Star: Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers had a miraculous 5-goal rally in the third against the Columbus Blue Jackets, led by Giroux’s 2 goals and 2 assists, including a goal of the year candidate. The Flyers won, 5-4. Jakub Voracek had a goal and two assists.
No. 2 Star: Daniel Alfredsson, Detroit Red Wings
Alfredsson opened and closed the scoring for the Wings, scoring a power-play goal in overtime to give Detroit a 3-2 win over Calgary. Congrats, “HBO 24/7” producers.
No. 3 Star: Alex Steen, St. Louis Blues
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy11 hrs ago
The Los Angeles Kings apparently have one criteria for their starting goaltenders, which is that they possess some sort of supernatural and/or mutant ability to magically stop pucks.
Jonathan Quick, currently injured, may or may not be a Jedi, able to control pucks with his mind. Martin Jones, currently starring for the Kings in Quick’s absence, made a save on Thursday night against the San Jose Sharks that was made of magic.
Check out Jones, becoming Tommy Wingels’ waking nightmare with this incredible save:
Now, granted, some of this magic was in the San Jose Sharks blowing two clear shots at a gaping net, with Wingels’ wraparound glancing off the post. But then the puck hit Jones’ pad, and looked destined to cross the goal line … until he swept his glove back and swatted it away.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy12 hrs ago
The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-4, on Thursday night. The box score reads that they scored five goals in the third period to rally for the win, and that captain Claude Giroux scored the final two goals to complete the comeback.
But his ninth goal of the season, the game-winner at 18:22 of the third? It has to be seen to be believed:
This goal of the year candidate by Giroux is remarkable on several fronts. There was the spin move to get deeper into the attacking zone and track the puck. There was the way he controlled the puck while wearing David Savard as a coat. Savard shoved him, and Giroux lost his balance; yet he had the wherewithal to put the puck on his backhand, take a stride and fire it on net.
Not only did he fire it, he fired it perfectly: a rocket over the glove of Curtis McElhinney, who flashed the leather high but couldn’t catch up with it.
What a shot.
Obviously it was exactly what Giroux planned, right?
“I was just trying to get it on net,” he said after the game. “I was at the end of a shift, pretty tired. Just trying to get it on net.”Sat, Dec 214:00 PM PSTPhiladelphia at ColumbusPreview Game
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy12 hrs ago
Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings has a reputation for playing on the edge. The question is whether he actually played over it against the San Jose Sharks, in taking out rookie star Tomas Hertl in the first period.
As 18:59 of the first, Hertl swept the puck ahead and out of his own zone after a Kings offensive chance. Brown skated toward him, and his right leg connected with Hertl’s left leg.
Hertl hit the ice in pain, and would not return to the game. Brown was given a major for kneeing, which carries a game misconduct penalty.
Did he deserve it?
Look, there’s no question that Brown has found himself on the delivery side of several lower body collisions. There was a blatant knee on Jaden Schwartz of the St. Louis Blues last season. There was the thigh-on-thigh hit from Brown on Michal Rozsival in the 2012 playoffs; the Coyotes were outraged, but the NHL didn’t offer any supplemental discipline.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy14 hrs ago
At the start of the shootout between the Phoenix Coyotes and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night, James van Riemsdyk skated in and slid the puck at goalie Mike Smith. The Coyotes keeper trapped the puck under his pad but momentum carried him back into the net.
Was the puck in? Did he make the save?
There was no signal from referees Paul Devorski and Rob Martell.
Up to the War Room we went for a review. The NHL found the footage inconclusive, and thus the call on the ice stood.
Which was … what?
A goal, apparently, even if neither official signaled it.
The Maple Leafs would score a second goal in the shootout via Joffrey Lupul, winning the game 2-1.
So what happened here?
“Paul Devorski told me that ‘100 percent’ it’s in,” said Coyotes Coach Dave Tippett. “You gotta take him for his word. The video was inconclusive, but Paul said ‘110 percent, Tip, I saw it in.’”
As for not signaling a goal, Tippett said that Devorski indicated to Smith that the puck had gone in.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy19 hrs ago
When the NHL has a hearing and decides not to suspend a player, it requires some thorough explanation to justify the decision.
Which is why the Department of Player Safety released a video that’s over three minutes long, breaking down why Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson wasn’t given any supplemental discipline for his charging hit on Brayden Schenn of the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.
We’re talking “coach’s diagram” specific:
Essentially, the NHL argued that Brayden Schenn knew Wilson was coming and by turning his back on the play put himself in harm’s way. If there was an injury here, significant or otherwise, the fault falls to the Flyers forward for turning his back on Wilson.
The other facet of this was the charging call on Wilson, the NHL buys his argument that he didn’t commit to the hit until he was well into the offensive zone, and that he was skating in as a forechecker and not taking a full skate from the neutral zone to hit him.
Hence, no suspension.
If the NHL wants to justify its decision not to ban Wilson for a couple of games with this evidence, it’s compelling enough to do so – especially the indictment of Schenn’s role in the potential injury.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy19 hrs ago
The San Jose Sharks visit the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night (10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. ET), and we all win. Here are a few things to check out:
1. As You May Have Heard, The Home Team Does Quite Well
The last 15 times the Sharks and Kings have played, the visiting team has failed to win in regulation. In fact, the road team only won once in those 15 games – on April 5, 2012, which was a 6-5 shootout win. In the Western Conference semifinals last postseason, the home team won all seven games.
In their last 12 regular-season meetings, the home team has a 3.25 goals-for average, while the road team has a 2.25 goals-against average.
2. The Martin Jones Mystery
The Kings backup is 6-0-0 with a 0.82 goals against average, with three shutouts in five games.
So, uh, how do the Sharks beat this guy?