- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy4 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.Thu, Dec 194:00 PM PSTMinnesota at PittsburghPreview Game
- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy9 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 Daddy11 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 Daddy12 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 Daddy12 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
- Harrison Mooney at Puck Daddy13 hrs ago
It's been a busy week for the NHL's Department of Player Safety. In the last 5 days alone, they's handed out four suspensions -- Shawn Thornton, Corey Potter, David Clarkson, and Deryk Engelland -- for a total of 24 games. And there are more coming.
Engelland accounts for 5 of those games, as the ban hammer came down Wednesday on the Penguins' bruiser for his check to the head of Justin Abdelkader.
Five games seems reasonable for two reasons.
First, this is a dumb hit. As Patrick Burke explains, "Engelland tucks his shoulder and drives through Abdelkader, recklessly picking his head and making it the main point of contact."
It's entirely on Engelland as well. Abdelkader's only sudden movement during this play is when he pops into the air and hits the ice after Engelland lays into his head.
- Harrison Mooney at Puck Daddy14 hrs 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.
• This is, as the kids say, adorbs. [AP]
• After doing it again Tuesday night, the New York Islanders have now blown a third-period lead a whopping nine times in 35 games. [Newsday]
• Who's to blame for the New York Islanders? Garth Snow . [CBS New York]
- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy15 hrs ago
Since the HBO 24/7 cameras have entered the worlds of the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs, it hasn't been good times for either side. Toronto has gone 3-5-0, while the Red Wings are winless, 0-5-2, as they deal with the extra media obligations on a daily basis.
We're only through one episode of 24/7 , and with the second coming this weekend, it's becoming pretty clear who the star of the series is so far. No, not Mike Babcock. No, not Joffrey Lupul. No, not the toaster Randy Carlyle did battle with. The star of HBO 24/7 has clearly been the Florida Panthers.
Since firing head coach Kevin Dineen and replacing him with Peter Horaceck, the Panthers have gone 10-8-1, but of late they've won six of their last seven games, putting themselves six points out of a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. This current run also includes three wins over the Red Wings and the Maple Leafs as the 24/7 cameras roll.Thu, Dec 194:00 PM PSTPhoenix at TorontoPreview Game
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy17 hrs ago
The goal-cam in the NHL can pick all varieties of awkward images, from players faces being smushed in a pile-up to netminders giving up embarrassing goals.
But this … this is a special kind of awkward. From a recent Chicago Blackhawks home game, we present “Crouching Ice Girl, Hidden Goal Cam.”
The NHL War Room has reviewed the footage and confirmed the ruling on the ice: It’s good.
Quick impression of everyone who just watched the video: “Oh. Ohhhhh. Uh. Oh-no. No. No no no no no no no no and there it is.”
Here’s the vital moment captured in GIF form. We haven’t seen someone back into the Chicago goal that impressively since Tomas Holmstrom retired …
Now, even though it looks like she's getting out of the way of another skater, there’s some thought that the Ice Girl in this clip was well aware of her surroundings when she cleaned the snow.
In any event: Sorry, Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland. You now have the second-most captivating 17 seconds of Blackhawks hockey this year.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy18 hrs ago
Sometimes I get asked where I’d like to see the NHL place an expansion franchise, and I have both delusional and practical answers.
From a practical standpoint, the NHL should place teams in Seattle – geographically and demographically advantageous – and a second team in Toronto, which will be an ATM for league revenues. From a delusional standpoint, my answer is always Bora Bora.
Putting an NHL team in Las Vegas, however, has a little practical and a dash of delusional. Bob McKenzie of TSN offered this tantalizing tidbit this week on expansion:
McKenzie: The NHL party line hasn't changed. There are no formal plans for expansion but if they expand and everyone assumes at some point, they're going to, the common knowledge is that Seattle is the primary target in the Pacific Northwest. The strong sense I'm getting now is that Las Vegas is second on that list behind Seattle and the NHL wants to be the first major professional sports league to put a franchise in Las Vegas.