ESPN.com What has been the biggest surprise so far? Greg Wyshynski: "Plan the parade" has, over the years, become a running joke between Toronto Maple Leafs fans and the rest of the hockey universe -- a shared laugh over the delusional hubris that's inherent to Leafs fandom, and really the only thing that's spared them from a descent into complete nihilism through decades of futility. So if the question is, "What is the biggest surprise for me so far?" then the answer would have to be that "plan the parade" has lost its irony. The Maple Leafs are actually good, they're actually ahead of schedule as Stanley Cup contenders and Auston Matthews actually has a chance to thwart Connor McDavid's predestined
The New York Rangers are sitting in last place in the Eastern Conference at 1-5-0, their worst start since 1980. The bad news is their opponent is the two-time defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins, who have won three of four and have owned the Rangers in recent years. The Penguins captured 10 of their past 14 meetings with New York, including a five-game win in the first round of the 2016 playoffs.
Predators players play street hockey with neighborhood kids Savvy salary-cap maneuvering has positioned the Predators to realistically challenge for the Stanley Cup for the foreseeable future. Their core players are signed to long-term contracts that should bind them through their prime years. Ryan Johansen, Viktor Arvidsson, Filip Forsberg, Roman Josi, P.K. Subban and Mattias Ekholm are under contract together through the 2019-20 season. A smaller championship window, however, exists that coincides with the two remaining years on Pekka Rinne's contract. The veteran goaltender, who turns 35 on Nov. 3, is aware of that. “Personally, every year is my biggest chance (to win the Stanley Cup),
Here are USA TODAY Sports' NHL power rankings based primarily on the team's start, with some consideration to schedule and level of play. 1. Chicago Blackhawks (4-1-1) Fourth in goals per game and third in goals against. So much for taking a step backward. 2. Los Angeles Kings (4-0-1) Last year’s decline was about Jonathan Quick’s injury, and he’s back. 3. Ottawa Senators (3-0-2) Impressive start for a team playing without Erik Karlsson, who is set to return Tuesday. 4. New Jersey Devils (4-1-0) Are they the NHL’s most improved team? Sample size too small to know for sure, but their start shows they are a team on the rise. 5. Toronto Maple Leafs (4-1-0) Maple Leafs are showing a 1980s offense,
When discussion about the NHL’s playoff format comes up, there is a section of fans who would like to see the league allow for an even greater reward for top teams other than home-ice advantage. That idea has become a reality thanks to the Southern Professional Hockey League. The 10-team SPHL announced on Monday that they are overhauling their opening round and turning it into what’s being dubbed the “Challenge Round.” The top three teams will get to choose their first-round opponent during a “Challenge Round Selection” event which will be broadcast to fans on Sunday, April 8, the day after the regular season concludes. After the top three seeds select their opponents, the No. 4 team will be