Puck Daddy - NHL

  •  No. 1 Star: Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks

    Chicago winger notched his 1,000th point as part of a one goal, one assist night in Chicago’s 5-4 shootout win over Ottawa. Finished second amongst Hawks forwards with 20:37 of ice-time.

    No. 2 Star: Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

    Stamkos fired two goals and added an assist in Tampa’s 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.

    No. 2 Star: Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche

    Avalanche sophomore notched his first two goals of the season in Colorado’s 5-0 victory over the Islanders.

    Honorable mention: St. Louis goaltender Jake Allen made 24 saves in shutting out the Anaheim Ducks … Chicago captain Jonathan Toews recorded two goals … Hawks goaltender Scott Darling won his second career NHL game, pulling out his first career NHL shootout win … Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson played 30:56 in the shootout loss … Winnipeg defenseman Toby Enstrom picked up his eighth assist, which tied him for second amongst blueliners … Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury recorded his second shutout of the year with 36 saves against Los Angeles ... Boston’s Brad Marchand scored two goals, including the game winner over the Sabres … Buffalo’s Drew Stafford scored a goal and added an assist …  Florida netminder Roberto Luongo stopped 32 of 33 Arizona Coyotes shots on goal in victory … Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 40 saves … Avalanche center Matt Duchene notched two assists ... Daniel Sedin from Henrik Sedin is a beautiful thing. 

    Did you know?: The New Jersey Devils won their first shootout since March 10, 2013. They had lost 18 straight before Thursday.  

    Dishonorable mention: Arizona's Mike Smith lost his fourth game in his last five contests, this one to the hapless Florida Panthers …  The Islanders Chad Johnson made just 18 saves on 23 Colorado shots on goal … The Bruins were 6:30 away from losing to the Buffalo Sabres before Marchand's third period goal. Boston won the game in overtime … Meanwhile the Sabres fired just 15 shots on goal … According to eye-witness Twitter reports, Evgeni Malkin and Justin Williams fought, but both were assessed roughing minors.

  • Minnesota Wild sniper Thomas Vanek is off to a slow start. And there may be some off-ice reasons for this. 

    On Thursday night, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported that Mark Ruff, a bookmaker, pleaded guilty to laundering a gambling debt with a $230,000 New York Islanders check. The report says it was a salary check that was used to cover wages and was endorsed the same time Vanek played for the New York Islanders. 

    Vanek played minor league hockey with the Rochester Americans. 

    "(Local attorney James) Wolford declined to say whether the payment came from Vanek, who has been linked to the alleged Rochester-based gambling ring," the story says. "Vanek has acknowledged testifying before a grand jury and sources say his name turned up in records seized from the alleged bookmakers."

    Also in the story ...

    "In his plea, Mark Ruff admitted recruiting bettors, setting up gambling websites, and receiving payments from gamblers. While Vanek has been linked to the ring, allegedly as one who made bets with the ring, no more details have been provided about his possible role."

    Take note of the NHL/NHLPA collective bargaining agreement, which states:

    "Gambling on any NHL Game is prohibited."

    This certainly would not be the NHL's first issues with gambling. Current Pittsburgh assistant Rick Tocchet pleaded guilty to running a sports gambling ring and took a yearlong leave of absence from the game in 2006.  

    The Wild won 4-3 on Thursday evening and Vanek had two assists, which gives him seven assists, and points, on the year. 

  • Per the website hockeyfights.com, Evgeni Malkin doesn't have any regular season fights. And even after Malkin picked a scrap with Los Angeles' Justin Williams, in the Penguins 3-0 win over the Kings, this pristine record will likely stand. 

    Both were assessed roughing minors. Though as the below video shows, it indeed looks like a fight.

    Why would Malkin decide to tussle with Williams? To prove his Conn Smythe Trophy was more worthy than Williams'?

    It looks like Malkin was angry by an attempted hit by Dustin Brown ... so of course Malkin didn't look for Brown and found the closest player who looks nothing like Brown in Williams. 

    Said Malkin to Sporting News' Sean Gentille following the game...

    "Malkin said that Williams asked him to go earlier, but he downplayed that, too: "It's all emotion. I don't like fight, but (there's) sometimes lots of emotion."

    A star player who picks a fight tends to be interesting and noteworthy ... and always somewhat comical. This is indeed the case with Malkin on Thursday. 

  • Guess that date...

    The No. 1 song in the United States was "Harlem Shake" by Baauer. The No. 1 movie was "Oz, the Great and Powerful." Barack Obama was President. Give up?

     These were all attributes of America the last time the New Jersey Devils won in a shootout -- March 10, 2013. Since then, the Devils have gone 0-for-18. New Jersey is winless no-more. 

    New Jersey defeated the Winnipeg Jets in the breakaway contest. Jacob Josefson, who did not play in that March 10, 2013 game against Winnipeg scored the shootout winner. Cory Schneider -- who was not on the Devils at that point -- stopped all three Jets shooters. 

    Even the Devils website made fun of it. The headline? "Finally!"

  • According to Yahoo Sports’ Nick Cotsonika, former New Jersey Devils defenseman Scott Stevens interviewed for a job with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

    One assumes he would be hired under through the NHL’s “What Not To Do” program, which also resulted in the addition of Chris Pronger to the department …

    Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record reports that Owen Nolan and George Parros have also interviewed, the latter obviously to bring up the collective GPA of this group.

    All of these players obviously share the same hockey DNA: Stevens as one of the league’s most ferocious hitters, most of which would today be illegal; Nolan as a bruising power forward; Parros as a career fighter.

    If all of this feels a little redundant, that’s because it is.

    One of the great things about the NHL’s competition committee, by comparison, is that it’s a cross-section of players. Seriously, look at this group. Scorers, defensemen. Guys who hit, guys who get hit. A goalie!

    In many ways, one of the guys Stevens basically ended, Paul Kariya, would be a better voice in the player safety room. We have hitters represented; what about the hittees?

  • The Norris Trophy is defined as being given to the defenseman who displays "greatest all-round ability in the position."

    The 2012 winner, Erik Karlsson of Ottawa, is known mostly for his offense. His defense is improving, but not at the end of this play. After Karlsson zips back into his own zone to break up a Kris Versteeg breakaway, Versteeg, of the Chicago Blackhawks, then skates around Karlsson for a goal. Below ...

    Instead of just ripping Karlsson, some credit probably needs to go to Versteeg on the play for the power move. Also, it was a tough play for Karlsson. Versteeg barrelled at him at high speed and Karlsson had to make a quick decision on how to play him. 

    Either way, it was quite a nice looking goal, but not for Karlsson. 

  • The Detroit Red Wings have been on both ends of blown calls involving goals recently. 

    “Last year we scored a goal in here against L.A., it was wrong,” recalled Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock.

    That’s of course a reference to the Red Wings’ goal scored off the netting and behind Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings, which the referees missed. It tied the game at 19:33 of the third period; Detroit won in the shootout.

    The skate was on the other foot against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night. Drew Miller appeared to score for the Detroit Red Wings in the first period, but the goal was waved off due to goalie interference by Luke Glendening.

    Only it wasn’t interference: Holtby fell backwards scrambling back to his crease. It was a blown call.

    “In the end (the ref) got it wrong,” Babcock told the Wings’ website. “When you’re done complaining and whining about it, by the time that’s all done, they can have it right. It takes two seconds to get it right. The referee never wants to get it wrong. He doesn’t want to watch the replay for three weeks of him getting it wrong either. He’d rather have it right.”

    The Wings ended up winning, 4-2, which dampened their ire about the call on Thursday. But they clearly believe it would have been called differently had there been a mechanism in place to review the penalty.

    “I guess the biggest word is consistent, right? If you have the video of a challenge you can look at it in slo-motion and see did he actually impede the goalie or did the goalie flop,” said defenseman Brendan Smith.

    Octopus Thrower things it’s time, too, after last night’s debacle:

    In an age when the audience at home is able to identify the right call and the crew on the ice get it wrong, there is no excuse for not having some sort of review process in place.

    The NFL decided last off-season that they would review every scoring play, while that might not be possible and would probably not be a good idea for the NHL, something needs to change.

    It is time for the NHL and the Competition Committee to get a coach’s challenge implemented or make every goal that is waved off due to incidental contact or goaltender interference review-able by Toronto or the crew inside the arena.

    Babcock has, of course, seen his share of goalie interference controversies over the years – remember all the reputation penalties on Tomas Holmstrom?

    While he didn’t outright say he was in favor of a coach’s challenge, Babcock said he wanted some check and balance in place.

    “[In] the time we got all this screwing around with we could have got it right,” said Babcock. “I think the league wants to get it right. I’m not in charge of this stuff and I don’t know how to do it, but I’m sure the league wants to get it right.”

  • Patrik Nemeth has had a rough go of it during the three years since he’s come to North America. A broken hand, broken foot and concussion have all sidelined the 22-year old Swede, according to Mark Stepneski of the Stars, and now he's added a freak skate cut injury to the laundry list of reasons taking away from the ice.

    “I knew something hit my arm,” Nemeth said on Thursday talking about his collision with R.J. Umberger of the Philadelphia Flyers last week. “I took a peek at it, and it was bleeding. I just wanted to stop the bleeding. It was a little bit worse than I thought it would be. It wasn’t good news.”

    Umberger’s skate cut muscles and tendons deep in Nemeth’s right arm. Fortunately, no arteries or nerves were affected. He had surgery the next day and was ruled out for at least the remainder of the regular season and possibly playoffs.

    “It’s very frustrating. There’s nothing I can do about it," Nemeth said. "I just have to wear more protection, I guess."

    Nemeth’s plan to protect himself in the future will include wearing Kevlar sleeves on both his arms and legs. “I’m going to be a knight out there,” he joked.

    Despite another tough injury, Nemeth isn't letting frustration get in his way of a speedy recovery.

    “The only thing I can do from here is not look back, just look ahead," he said. "As soon as I’m cleared to work out, just work hard and try to be in really good shape when I get back.

    "Hopefully speed up the recovery a little bit. That’s all I can do right now.”

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    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!

  • MGM Resorts is building a $350 million sports arena and event center behind New York New York. That building is going to need things that will fill its 20,000 seats. They believe the National Hockey League could be that thing. 

    According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the company and an ownership group seeking to bring a team to Vegas have had preliminary talks:

    In an interview following MGM Resorts third-quarter earnings conference call, company CFO Dan D’Arrigo said preliminary discussions had taken place with a group interested in housing an NHL team at the MGM-AEG arena, which will have 20,000 seats, along with luxury boxes and other amenities.

    D’Arrigo didn’t go into details on the talks and whether the group was looking to move an existing NHL team to Las Vegas or seeking an expansion franchise.

    “We would be supportive of an NHL team coming to our arena,” D’Arrigo said. “We’re highly interested and we have been in discussions with a group.”

    So “discussions with a group” doesn’t mean “discussions with the NHL”; and if that group has had discussions with the NHL, the NHL would simply say “well, we talk to everyone! Nothing to see here!”

    But the wheels are in motion to potentially bring a team to Vegas; whether one works there is the gamble. 

  • 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. 

    - Daniel Briere is a healthy scratch for the Colorado Avalanche “to take some pressure off the first two lines” says coach Patrick Roy. [Denver Post]

    - The Blackhawks have their own comic strip writer. [DNA Info]

    - An update on “Mr. Hockey” Gordie Howe in his recovery from a serious stroke. [Yahoo]

    - KHL “rookie” Ryan Whitney scores his first goal overseas. [YouTube]

    - Nikolaj Ehlers gets blasted … then pops right back up. [Yahoo]

    - The Blackhawks should change the way we look at forward line construction. [The Committed Indian]

    - Has Ken Hitchcock reached his expiration date with the St. Louis Blues? [Talking Puck

    - Stephen Weiss is being reevaluated after suffering a lower body injury in Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint. [MLive]

    - The Edmonton Oilers still can’t beat anyone in the Western Conference. [Cult of Hockey]

    - A look into the life of Ohio State’s men’s hockey equipment manager. [The Lantern]

    - Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena is the best for hockey foodies. [Yahoo Food]

    - Phoenix Coyotes general manager Don Maloney calls out his team and says unless they improve “things are going to change around here.” [Arizona Republic]

    - The Los Angeles Kings will have their full group of 20 players when they face Pittsburgh on Thursday. [LA Kings Insider]

    - The Bruins are ‘deeply saddened’ by the passing of former Boston mayor Tom Menino. [CSN New England]

    - Five questions with former “Hercules” star Kevin Sorbo [The Hockey News]

    - What are the NHL’s best Halloween costumes leading up to Friday’s holiday? [National Post]

    -Finally, watch 5-foot-10 Ryan Ellis take out 6-foot-1 former junior teammate Taylor Hall.

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