The obvious question for Ottawa Senators goaltender Ray Emery: Does cockroach taste like chicken?
Everyone loves to hate a villain, and in the NHL, the Ducks are exhibit A -- as in Anaheim. Even their makeover from the cartoonish Mighty Ducks to their more Dark Wing inspired motif fits. They fought more than any team during the regular season, and they continue to win in the playoffs despite taking penalties at an alarming rate. It's part of playing a relentless forechecking style and banging bodies at every opportunity.
There is rough justice, frontier justice and administrative justice in the National Hockey League; but in a sport where the only stanzas are the ones that last 20 minutes, there was finally poetic justice.
OTTAWA - Among the myriad jobs of Erin the Intern, the most noticeable one is guardian of the logo.
Tomas Holmstrom positioned himself in front of the Anaheim net last Friday on a third-period Detroit Red Wings power play. NHL coaches like to call this an example of "traffic," but when the double-parked player is Holmstrom, he creates something more insidious than mere gridlock. He plants his skates millimeters outside the blue-tinted 44-square-foot area that delineates the crease and refuses to budge, raising hockey hell, obstructing the goaltender's view, tying up defensemen, tipping pucks and generally being a miserable cuss.
Ah, glorious spring. Everything is in bloom, from flowers and trees to faces. The NHL remains the home of the traditional playoff beard, but some NBA players, such as Baron Davis and Rasheed Wallace, have thickened their mug rug for the postseason push. Die-hard fans, mostly of the male variety I assume, are also in on the fun, in solidarity with their teams.
I got a kick out of Peyton Manning's Mastercard commerical where the guy serving coffee gets knocked over by a blast of steam in the face and Manning urges him to "rub some dirt on it." In this age of pitch counts and other bubblewrap training techniques and long preventative shut-downs, it can be hard to believe that the athlete's credo once resembled the black knight who loses assorted limbs in Monty Python & The Holy Grail and keeps fighting while insisting, "Come on, it's only a flesh wound!"
Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza, who used to play as if he were saving his 6'3", 213-pound body to donate it to science, dropped to one knee and took a Patrik Elias shot in the chest with six minutes to go in Game 3 against the New Jersey Devils last week. Although the shot block was widely reported, the press might as well have said that a pig had been spotted flying over Parliament in Canada's capital. Indeed when Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun asked Senators players if they had actually seen the block, forward Chris Kelly replied, "No. Like the Loch Ness Monster, you hear about it but you never see it."
It's a rough crowd in the Anaheim locker room on the night of May 3. The Ducks have just closed out their Western Conference semifinal series against the Vancouver Canucks, winning Game 5 on Scott Niedermayer's bad-angle, what-the-hell wrist shot from 59 feet in the second overtime. An unofficial assist came from his younger brother, Rob, who had freed up the puck with an organ-jostling, ass-over-bandbox hit on Vancouver winger Jannik Hansen. Across the room from Rob, now recounting that collision to a scrum of reporters, is Brad May (he of the 2,000-plus career penalty minutes) discussing the mucking he did in those final seconds. In the middle of the room stands the formerly handsome
Memo to the NHL powers that be: Please don't touch overtime.
MYTISHCHI, Russia (Reuters) -- Canadian players and officials defended Shane Doan at the ice hockey world championship after opposition parties demanded he be dropped as captain for allegedly insulting the country's Francophone minority.
MYTISHCHI, Russia (Reuters) -- Jaroslav Bednar scored with 68 seconds remaining to overcome a furious U.S. rally and give the Czech Republic a 4-3 win and top spot in Group B at the ice hockey world championship on Tuesday.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Sid the Kid has two more goalies to beat.
DETROIT -- Evgeni Nabokov, a goalie blessed with more style than silliness, was awarded the coveted Wonder Bread cap by his fellow San Jose Sharks after Thursday's Game 1 shutout against Detroit, but his innate sense of propriety wouldn't allow him to parade around the dressing room in the player-of-the game prize, a Ron Wilson gimmick that the coach affectionately ripped from the big screen Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.
MONTREAL (Ticker) -- Health should not be a concern to suitors of Sheldon Souray.
(Note to readers and NHL general managers : Clip or stick this in some electronic folder or whatever you internet generation people do, save, and read it next February as the frenzy of the trade deadline approaches.)
Just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get you.
Islanders defenseman Sean Hill on Friday became the first NHL player suspended for violating the league's drug policy -- a 20-game ban that will carry into next season.
The Ottawa Senators are like your troubled teenagers who are heading off to college. You never thought they'd make it, but they have. This doesn't mean they'll land the big job or even figure out how to do their own laundry. Getting through the next phase of life (or next round of the playoffs) will be another challenge, but it is time to forget about past transgressions and failures and pat them on the back for graduating and moving on.
The topic of debate for the day: Stanley Cup overtime.
"People talk to you a great deal about your education, but some good, sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education." -- Alyosha, in Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov
Measure the return of April with three consistencies: leaves are coming back (hooray), the taxman is back (ah, crud) and the New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings are back in the playoffs.
BUFFALO -- There were 12 of us watching the game that January evening, a dozen converted Bills fans huddled around a television in the den of a rented house in the city's University Heights section. I had lived in Buffalo for just under 42 months, but my education as a Buffalonian was nearly complete. I knew the difference between Albright-Knox, the city's famed modern art gallery, and Chuck Knox, the Bills' best coach before Marv Levy. Pronunciations such as Cheektowaga and Tonawanda, the tongue-twisting towns that tripped up the new television anchors, rolled from my lips as if I were a Niagara Frontier native. And while I hated winter in Western New York, a season that lasted longer than many marriages, I had come to admire the heartiness of my fellow Buffalonians as they combated snow drifts as tall as Manute Bol and wind-chill readings that often dipped below zero.
Who will skate with Lord Stanley's Cup this season? We'll find out in two months. But for now, all we can do is speculate -- and that's what our NHL experts have done, as they predict every series in every round, leading up to their picks for this year's Stanley Cup winner.
One minute to go. A booming voice in Mellon Arena announces this, and the delirious crowd roars. Really, can a March night get any better? The fans arrived buzzing with the news that their beloved Penguins had been saved when a last-minute deal for a new arena locked the NHL franchise into Pittsburgh for the next 30 years. Then Penguins great, team co-owner and now savior Mario Lemieux walked onto the ice and declared how proud he was that the Pens "will remain right here in Pittsburgh where they belong!" And then the game: swift and furious, score after score, months of tension dissolving in the din. Now the inspired team and its dazzling star, Sidney Crosby, hold a 4-3 lead over the Eastern Conference-leading Buffalo Sabres; now the old building shakes with civic love and joy and the adrenaline rush that comes from fans knowing they'll be able to say, decades on, that they were there for that historic scene. A banner declares, it's a great day for hockey!
The NHL playoffs begin Wednesday, which provides us a reason to evaluate each team's goaltending situation -- usually the key element in any team's postseason chances.
The saying that records are made to be broken is certainly true. They serve as generational sign posts -- targets of goal-setting youngsters to strive for as they link the present with the past. With that always comes the debate of who is/was better. But to me, it is the debate that is important, not the answer or opinion.
If you were one of the smart ones who laid out the $159 for the NHL's Center Ice package, this is the week your investment pays off. With seven teams contending for three playoff spots in the East, and with crucial seeding battles going down to the wire in the West, it's time send the wife and kids to the in-laws, set the TiVo to record your other favorite shows, settle onto the couch and see who wants it the most.
The food was exquisite, the evening historic. On the March night that Mike Modano became the second U.S.-born player to score 500 goals, several Stars congregated for a celebratory supper in a swank Dallas restaurant. While Modano dined with some teammates and friends at a long table in the center of the room, the Stars' No. 1 goalie, Marty Turco, who hadn't played in the game but had thumped the plexiglass behind the bench with gusto after the milestone goal, sat at a satellite table with his wife, his agent, his sister and her husband. "You should send a bottle of wine over to Mike," said Turco's wife, Kelly.
The New Jersey Devils, unique as a snowflake, again took conventionality by the scruff of the neck and shook it hard. With three games left in the season, the first-place team in the Atlantic Division, winners of four of five, fired their coach, Claude Julien.
Brrrrrrrr. A chill came over Gina Luongo as she spoke on the phone to her husband last June and learned that the couple was in for a serious latitude adjustment. Roberto Luongo, then the star goaltender for the Florida Panthers, had just been traded to the Vancouver Canucks, and he was crying as he broke the news from his parents' Montreal home. Gina, who'd just pulled up to her parents' house in sunny South Florida, tried to comfort him, but heading north for the winter didn't sound like much fun to her, either. The next day Gina got even gloomier after she looked at a map and realized that she and Roberto would be making a diagonal move across all of North America -- no other two major pro sports franchises on the continent are so far apart. You've got to be kidding me, she said to herself. "They might as well have sent us to Alaska."
There's a lot of talk lately about either the National Basketball Association or National Hockey League moving a team to Las Vegas.
Earlier this week, I expressed the opinion that Dallas Stars president Jim Lites mistakenly got his knickers in a twist about the Nashville Predators' failure to acknowledge Mike Modano breaking the NHL career record for goals by an American player. To this old Canadian's way of thinking, Modano's record was so esoteric as to not be worth the fuss. Some of you felt somewhat differently.
My recent column about the best American players in NHL history drew a number of responses.
With 501 career goals, Dallas Stars center Mike Modano enters this weekend just one shy of Joe Mullen's all-time mark by a U.S.-born player. Modano's achievement got us to thinking about some of the most notable U.S.-reared players to lace up skates. (We say "reared" rather than born because some, such as Rod Langway, were born in non-hockey playing countries but grew up in the U.S., where their games were developed and nurtured.)
An old editor of mine had many firmly held beliefs when it came to content, but top among them was this: People love lists.
It's like they've taken a swim in the magic pool from the classic movie Cocoon. Some notable NHL players have found second winds in careers that seemed to be fading; others are fulfilling promise deferred; and still more have simply told the hourglass to wait.
For three weeks after the riotous festivities surrounding the NBA All-Star Game in Las Vegas, I read and listened to many impassioned pleas for moral codes and concerted action to stem the tide of such nonsense. I contemplated a dreary screed that went something like this: "Sick of the misadventures of Pacman Jones and all the NFL- and NBA-dominated antisocial behavior going on across the land? Give peace a chance and check out a relative haven of sanity: the NHL."
I've been to Nashville many times and always enjoy my visits to the city. Now, this isn't a travelogue piece, but my schedule brought me there over the weekend and I decided to spend my time as a diehard hockey fan. I took in two Predators games, multiple youth hockey games, and even went to the Preds' Friday optional skate at their practice rink.
The National Hockey League has rejected hockey's version of the Twinkie defense.
Stop me if you'd heard this one before: Chris Simon, the hulking New York Islanders winger, tried to perform a Sher-wood lobotomy on Ryan Hollweg of the New York Rangers on Thursday night with a short, chopping, axe-like swing that got Simon an indefinite suspension but could also get him a belated invitation to spring training by a team looking for a designated hitter.
Does the infamous SI cover jinx extend to the web? Jerry G. from Boulder, Co. thinks so:
The trade was, at first blush, almost as bad as the optics. On the day the Oilers retired Mark Messier's No. 11, the team ditched perhaps the most respected player in Edmonton since Messier left. After failing to reach a contract agreement by the 3 p.m. trading deadline with Ryan Smyth, the left winger and security blanket of the franchise, the Oilers promptly moved him to the New York Islanders for a pair of disappointing former first-round draft choices and another No. 1 in 2007.
In Nashville the accursed white whale is red. Since the Predators entered the NHL in 1998, they have chased the elusive, hulking glory of the Red Wings, not only in the Central Division but also in their own city, which is heavily sprinkled with Detroit fans. Now, with five weeks remaining in a season in which Nashville used a run of 20 wins in 24 games to cement its status as a Stanley Cup contender, the Predators -- with visions of a silver chalice rather than Ahab's gold doubloon shimmering in their minds -- are hot on the great beast's tail.
The reports out of Pennsylvania for the past several months had been arriving almost daily: good skate day, bad skate day, pain-free, no discomfort, a new orthotic. If Peter Forsberg's quest for a skate for his surgically-repaired right foot -- and he tried 28 pairs this season before seemingly finding a solution the past three weeks -- had been vaguely reminiscent of a certain champion race horse, the Nashville Predators still thought they could ride the Philadelphia Flyers captain a long way.
In an event as indecorous as it was inspirational, the Boston Bruins, on the morning of Nov. 7, inducted their forwards into the Hall of Foam. The ritual was, in its way, moving: The forwards had to move themselves into shooting lanes and block point shots from the defensemen, who were rifling foam-rubber pucks, not the usual vulcanized ones, to keep collateral damage to a minimum. Rookie Phil Kessel, whose swift rise to the NHL has been predicated on putting pucks in the net and not putting himself in harm's way, slid around the zone like a tobogganing 10-year-old after a snowfall. "The players had a blast," says coach Dave Lewis. "Guys who probably would have broken ribs or gotten concussions learned positioning, when to go down, how to go down, left side, right side."
Football -- the real kind -- has made some massive inroads into the American consciousness since the start of the New Year.
With the NHL trade deadline looming on Feb. 27, some teams, especially those out of the playoff picture, would love to make moves -- dumping players with large salaries, perhaps as rent-a-players, and maybe getting some prospects in return. This is easier said than done, given salary-cap restrictions, but here are seven players who teams would at least hope to jettison in order to re-tool for the future:
The most improbable heavyweight in the National Hockey League wears a Boogie Nights mustache, speaks passable Spanish and graduated from Princeton in 2003 with a 3.16 grade point average and a degree in economics. George Parros is not the most famous pugnacious Princetonian -- former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wrestled there in the early 1950s -- but the university is not exactly a haven for the cap-and-goon set. If throwing punches during hockey games seems an odd way for an Ivy Leaguer to make a living, it is no more bizarre than the careers of classmates whom Parros says are now in "I-banking," investment bankers who put in 15-hour days and sleep in their offices. Through Sunday, Parros had played 19 games and averaged 4:41 minutes of ice time this season. If he dresses for 18 of his team's final 30 games and ramps up his ice time to five minutes, he'll play 180 minutes this season. For Parros, earning the NHL minimum of $450,000, that's $150,000 an hour. Take that to the I-bank.
Dany Heatley's fabulous month has not gone unrecognized.
I don't know why it took 28 years for the Montreal Canadiens to retire Ken Dryden's number 29. But since it did, it now occurs to me that many younger hockey fans -- and players, too -- may not appreciate just how great he was.
Dean Lombardi promised he'd be a seller by the trade deadline, and on Monday the Los Angeles Kings GM was as good as his word, dealing center Craig Conroy to his previous team, the Calgary Flames.
At the start of last season the Tampa Bay Lightning's arena finally got wired to receive Canadian sports networks TSN and Sportsnet, throwing the organization a technological lifeline that was as significant, in its way, as the bullet trains linking Paris with France's provincial capitals or the World Wide Web connecting China to the West. Even after winning the Stanley Cup in 2004, Lightning players still sensed they were working in a far-flung hockey redoubt, away from the sport's hot stove, and that by hooking up with Canada they were finally coming out of the cold or, more precisely, into it. "So at last we get TSN and we're all pumped,"
If you watched the NHL All-Star Game on Versus this week, you probably noticed a few new wrinkles to the typical hockey coverage. Here are some personal observations from the living room:
From his home in the Great White North, hockey goalie-turned-hockey broadcaster Glenn Healy mulls the transaction that laid down the course of his future career. It was yet another confirmation of the First Sporting Law of Psychokinetics, whereby major talent, if unfulfilled, acquires the power of temporarily disabling minor talent that comes within its sphere of influence and impedes its development.
TORONTO (Ticker) -- The New York Rangers on Wednesday placed defenseman Darius Kasparaitis on waivers, according to a report on Web site TSN.ca.
DALLAS -- After sitting through the NHL's third-ever YoungStars game Tuesday night, I can only say I hope it is the last. I'm betting the sparse and snoozing crowd at the American Airlines Center would agree. The two-day All-Star party is a fine event, festive and entertaining. But this game, dull and miscast, is no way to get it going.
Even though they will be somewhat lost in the shuffle of the SuperSkills Competition while the greater glory goes to the player with the hardest slap shot or swiftest skates, it doesn't mean that netminders lack aura. For proof, I submit the NHL's top puck-stoppers in 10 categories. Allan Muir has rated the skaters in a similar wide array.
It was a dazzling sign of how well things are going in Detroit these days when Henrik Zetterberg of the Red Wings scored one of those goal-of-the-year candidates against Nashville on January 17. Early in the second period, Detroit's left wing exchanged passes with his linemates -- center Pavel Datsyuk and right wing Tomas Holmstrom -- skated to the high right slot, pulled a 360-degree spin-o-rama that would have made Denis Savard envious, and slid a harmless looking backhand under the left pad of Predators goalie Tomas Vokoun, who reacted late after being befuddled by Zetterberg's acrobatics.
Time to dig deep into the NHL mailbag. But first, this reminder to the passionate fans of Nashville: My column on Monday was not about me advocating relocation by the Preds. It was an examination of the possibility that owner Craig Leipold might consider relocating if he fails in his efforts to bring in local ownership and find a way to reverse the declining interest in the team from the local business sector. So ease up on the name-calling. My wife reads your e-mails and even she's starting to think I'm a jerk.
Savor the moment, Predators fans.
Garrett Burnett enjoys stirring up trouble on the ice. He apparently conjured up a bit too much away from the rink.
You've heard it before: the best moves are sometimes the ones that a team's management doesn't make.
A perusal of the NHL through the first half of the schedule reveals one constant: streaks -- as in winning and losing games in clusters. No team, whether it sits atop its division or languishes near the bottom, seems immune to prolonged losing or incapable of extended winning.
This week the calendar flipped from 2006 to 2007 and in Hockeytown they turned the page on an era neither the city nor the NHL is likely to witness again.
Start with a day at the Montreal Forum in 1983, when Jim Devellano, then the general manager of the Detroit Red Wings, was still trying to convince his staff, his owner, local reporters and anyone who would buy it that the wisp he had just entrusted with his team's future really weighed 160 pounds -- sure, maybe with Canadian conversion or dipped in molasses or toting some school books that seemed to complement his 12-year-old face.
Gary Bettman, commissioner of the National Hockey League, is breathing easier. After a bitter lockout that earned the NHL dubious distinction as the only professional sports league to lose an entire season to a labor dispute, the puck finally dropped on the 88th season last October. New rules like overtime shootouts have captured attention, but it was the changes to the league's business model--capping salaries, sharing revenue--that have indelibly altered the game and improved its profitability. FORTUNE's Matthew Boyle talked with Bettman about hockey's return--and its wired, ubiquitous future.
National Hockey League fans will have yet another reason to cheer when teams take the ice this season.
Now that National Hockey League players have returned to the rink after a yearlong lockout, video gamers also are looking to lace up their skates and hit the ice -- virtually, that is.
Can the NHL go from being No Hockey League for the past 15 months to being the Now Hot League?
Comcast Corp., the nation's largest cable operator, may be weighing a sports network to challenge the leadership of ESPN, according to a published report.
The National Hockey League and the NHL Players Association reached a agreement on a tentative labor agreement Wednesday, bringing the longest work stoppage in the history of U.S. sports to an end.
Professional sports can be a lot like Wall Street.
A $4 billion bid to buy all the teams of the National Hockey League would group franchises into three different tiers to determine the payout for their current owners, according to a published report.
If anybody wins from the National Hockey League lockout, it is the NHL's little brother, the American Hockey League. After two down years, at the end of February AHL attendance was up 9%, to about ...
It's been a momentous offseason for baseball, with these highlights:
A Wall Street buyout firm and a sports advisory company have offered to buy not just a single team, but all 30 teams in the National Hockey League, according to a published report.
The National Hockey League's claim to be a major U.S. sport has long had more holes in it than a defenseman's smile. On the eve of the Stanley Cup finals, it lost at least a couple more teeth.
With next year's season expected to be put on ice, the National Hockey League entered a broadcast agreement with NBC where the struggling league won't receive any money upfront, according to published reports.
Shortly after taking over the struggling National Lacrosse League three years ago, Jim Jennings drove to Philadelphia to watch what would be only the second live Lacrosse game of his life. He took ...
It's hard to recall the exact moment the epiphany hit me during my recent mind-boggling tour of the Dallas sports-business scene. Was it while dot-com billionaire Mark Cuban was simultaneously lead...
For Tony Amonte, the measure of his success in the National Hockey League this season was simple enough: He scored 44 goals, second-best in the NHL. But there are other achievements the Chicago Bla...
Peter O'Malley sounds like a man who's tired of the fight. His family has owned the Los Angeles Dodgers for 47 years--a longer tenure than any other ownership group in Major League Baseball--but ea...
Greet the sports teams whose merchandise can be spotted on heads and backs all over the U.S.: the NBA champion Chicago Bulls. The NFL champs, the Dallas Cowboys. The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. The Sa...
A month into its new season, the National Hockey League shows signs of behaving like a real business instead of the marketing troglodyte it's been for years. Here's the plan: -- Says new commission...
SIXTY FEET, six inches is the distance from a baseball pitching rubber to home plate, a span that Roger Clemens of the Boston Red Sox, applying formal physics, reduces to 0.44 second per pitch. The...
IN 1966, AN 18-YEAR-OLD rookie defenseman named Bobby Orr joined the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League. Bobby was a swift, graceful skater who controlled the puck like a magician and elec...
The free-trade pact between Canada and the U.S. doesn't mention hockey pucks. But there they were when the National Hockey League chose Ottawa, Canada, and Tampa, Florida, as sites for new teams. P...
If you bought something for $15 million, you'd probably lock it in a vault. But Bruce McNall, 37-year-old owner of the Los Angeles Kings, will regularly send his new $15 million asset onto a slippe...