- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy43 mins ago
It's a Thursday edition of Marek vs. Wyshynski beginning at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, and we're talking about the following and more: unappealing
Special Guest Star: George Richards of the Miami Herald is going to tell us why the Panthers are so good.
• Tom Wilson's boarding suspension.
• The fighting ban for USA Hockey.
• Ottawa Senators in crisis mode.
• NHL news and notes.
Question of the Day: In light of Darryl Sutter's idea to eliminate the penalty boxes, give us your craziest NHL idea. Email at email@example.com or hit us on Twitter with the hashtag #MvsW to @wyshynski or @jeffmarek.Thu, Dec 194:30 PM PSTFlorida at OttawaPreview Game
- Dobber Hockey at Puck Daddy2 hrs ago
Dobber checks in every Thursday to force-feed you the latest fantasy hockey trends. The founder of and a columnist for The Hockey News website, he long ago immersed himself into this rollercoaster world and is unable to escape.
Cody Franson isn't exactly following up on the promise that he showed last season. Currently, he's on pace for 37 points and he has four points in 10 games over the last three weeks. But those in fantasy leagues that count hits are actually doing well by him. His 119 hits sit him fourth in the league behind the usual names you see there - Dustin Brown, Matt Martin and Chris Neil. And drilling down to the last three weeks, Franson sits third in the league.
Here is a look at the top hitters over the last three weeks, courtesy of Frozen Pool.Thu, Dec 194:00 PM PSTPhoenix at TorontoPreview Game
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy3 hrs ago
In October, hockey fighting suffered a major blow: The Canadian Junior Hockey League approved the “one fight rule” to curb pugilism. Fighters would get a 5-minute major for fighting, but also a game misconduct.
The pushback was as expected: Concerns that the removal of an enforcer from a game after one fight would open other players up to cheap shots from opponents without retribution. But actual player safety concerns trumped potential ones, and the ban was approved.
Junior hockey league see, junior hockey do, so USA Hockey will consider a new rule that would “ban” fighting from Junior A leagues (16-20-year-old players) like the United States Hockey League and North American Hockey League.
The new rule would punish all fighters with automatic ejection from the game, and instigators with an automatic two-game suspension. It would also give referees more latitude in making decisions to eject players.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy4 hrs ago
Josh Harding of the Minnesota Wild doesn’t talk about his battle with multiple sclerosis during the season, preferring to keep the focus on the Minnesota Wild and his own play, which is by far the best of his NHL career.
But doesn’t mean his health won’t be an issue at times. Harding was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday for what his general manger Chuck Fletcher said was an adjustment in his MS medication.
“This is not a major situation at all,” Fletcher said. “This didn’t come out of the blue. I’ve been talking to Josh for a while about this. He needs to make an adjustment in his protocols, and now is a good time to do it [with the Dec. 24-26 holiday break on the horizon]. “He feels good. He played well [Tuesday] night, but it’s just something that has to be taken care of.”Thu, Dec 194:00 PM PSTMinnesota at PittsburghPreview Game
- Harrison Mooney at Puck Daddy5 hrs ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs may have won just 3 of their last 13 games, but that doesn't mean the fans aren't finding things to enjoy about the club.
If you went to MapleLeafs.com after Tuesday night's loss to the Florida Panthers, for instance, you may have been greeted by the image above, a very spiffy-looking graphic full of inspiring phrases like "Go Leafs Go!" and "Passion that Unites Us All".
Of course, the image also features a tweet from @raincity that, apart from its #SeaOfBlue hashtag, simply says "balls". That's not quite as inspiring.
The Leafs rolled out a slick new interactive splash page just prior to the game that incorporated tweets and Instagrams tagged #seaofblue.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) December 4, 2013
- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy14 hrs ago
No. 1 Star: Brandon Sutter, Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins blew a 3-1 lead late in the third period, but Sutter scored the only goal in the shootout for the 4-3 win over the New York Rangers. Pittsburgh scored twice in a 1:01 span early in the third to build that 3-1 lead. Sutter scored the third goal, his seventh of the season, with this wicked backhander:
No. 2 Star: Damien Brunner, New Jersey Devils
The Swiss import scored a goal and notched an assist as the Devils downed the Ottawa Senators 5-2. After slumping since early October, Brunner now has four goals and five points in his last four games. His goal tonight put New Jersey up 4-1 and came in creative fashion:
No. 3 Star: Jaromir Jagr, New Jersey Devils
Jagr passed Steve Yzerman for eighth on the NHL all-time goals list with his 693rd. He's now one behind Mark Messier. His goal also stood as the game winner, giving him 122 in his NHL career, passing Gordie Howe for first overall.
- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy19 hrs ago
Here is the Puck Daddy Viewing Guide: Spotlighting five things to watch for during tonight's slate of games. Make sure to stop back here for the nightly Three Stars when the games are finished.
Create-a-Caption : "A fan dressed up as Santa Claus wears a Boston Bruins hockey mask in the third period during the game against the Calgary Flames at TD Garden."
• • •
Preview: Ottawa Senators at New Jersey Devils, 7:30 p.m. ET
Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers, 8 p.m. ET
• • •
Five things to know about tonight's NHL games ...
1. Missing Malkin. The Penguins' second leading scorer, Evgeni Malkin, will miss his second straight game with a lower-body injury. Head coach Dan Bylsma has also ruled him out for Thursday night's contest against the Wild.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy20 hrs ago
Alexander Steen has turned an MVP campaign through 33 games this season into a large pay raise from the St. Louis Blues over the next three seasons: $17.4 million, for a $5.8 million cap hit through 2017, per Jeremy Rutherford.
Steen is in the last year of a 4-year, $13.45 million contract that carried an annual hit of $3.362 million. Not coincidentally, he’s having the best offensive season of his professional life with 22 goals in 33 games. His 1.09 points per game average would shatter his previous best (0.71).
One hopes this contract doesn't, uh, alter the motivation for Steen this season. It's a contract year performance from him. Granted, his pace should trail off anyway over the next 49 games games, which will confuse the matter in the eyes of critics.
But keep this in mind, naysayers: He’s not just getting paid for 33 games. When healthy, Steen can be counted on for 20 goals and solid two-way play. He’s an asset that would have found similar money from any number of teams seeking a top-six winger as an unrestricted free agent.
- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy21 hrs ago
Every time the discussion in hockey turns to potentially making the ice surface bigger, thereby giving players more room to create, the response is that NHL owners would lose millions in revenue from the number of seats on the glass they'd have to remove to accommodate such new rink dimensions.
But what about an idea that could increase the number of seats in an arena when it's set up for hockey?
Enter Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter. He's got an idea.
Having played 406 NHL games and coming from one of hockey's most famous families, Sutter has seen plenty of rinks in his time and how they've changed over the years. There is one thing that baffles him, however, about the modern day rink setup: what's the deal with penalty boxes?
In Sutter's eyes, he thinks they serve no purpose and if his AEG bosses are listening, he has an idea to make them some extra cash.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy22 hrs ago
They’re moments frozen in time.
Like Dave Bolland completing an improbable comeback for the Chicago Blackhawks and winning the Stanley Cup in the process. The scramble of the defense. The way Bolland earned the shot. The puck sailing into the net. It’s all quite classic.
This photo didn’t make our 10 greatest hockey images of 2013, but another Blackhawks’ classic (and a few Bruins ones) did.
Here’s the list …
10. Marty St. Louis Thighs
The Tampa Bay Lightning veteran's monstrous legs became a sensation in the preseason. Also, they can be used as a floatation device. (Dirk Shadd/AP)
9. Nail Yakupov Celebration
On Jan. 24, Yakupov scored a game-tying goal against the Los Angeles Kings and proceeded to wildly celebrate by sliding down the ice on his knees. Thus began the "act like you've been there" debates. (Andy Devlin/Getty)
8. The Jagrs Take a Bathroom Break