League News

League News

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With both series' last night potential elimination games, there was a lot at stake for the Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers. Despite losing all three games by one goal - with two games decided in overtime, the Red Wings had every reason to believe they still had a chance of gaining life in a rather deceiving series. Although they are down 3-1, the Red Wings has displayed a stronger sense of urgency and hunger in the last two games. The old saying 'quit while you're ahead' may very well describe Nickas Lidstrom's situation, as he continues to weigh his...

192

In rather convincing fashion the Vancouver Canucks knocked off the Nashville Predators 4-2 last night. After winning the second game in Vancouver and sweeping the back-to-back set in Nashville, the Canucks have pushed the Preds to the brink. Although the Sedin twins have been MIA for much of the series, Ryan Kesler has elevated his game to a new level, with two goals and six points in his last two games. The Canucks have proved to be too much to handle for Nashville, who had relied heavily on Pekka Rinne between the pipes. At the opposite end, Roberto Luongo has...

425

After witnessing four first round series advance to a game seven, the feeling going into the second round was that there would not be any clearcut favorites, especially in the 2nd vs. 3rd seedings. That hasn't been the case thus far. Sure, there has been a record number of overtime contests, but the same teams are winning. The trend continued last night, with victories by Tampa Bay, Boston and San Jose. The Lightning are on a mission and look unstoppable, with seven straight wins dating back to game 5 of their first round series with Pittsburgh. Not many picked them...

293

There are teams in every major professional sports league who dominate the opposition in the regular season, but can't put it all together and get over the hump when it counts. The San Jose Sharks have historically underperformed in the post season, despite annually posting one one of the top records in the league. If any powerhouse is going to be ousted in the second round, it will very likely be the Washington Capitals, who went down 3-0 in their series last night. Although the Capitals managed to mount an early lead on the Lightning, Tampa Bay slowly climbed back,...

111

Regardless of what it says on your passport or birth certificate (see: Barack Obama), the atmosphere in the building at the Wells Fargo Centre when Lauren Hart serenaded the Flyers faithful with 'God Bless America' was an amazing sight and whirlwind of emotion. The performance was a fitting tribute to the ups and downs that North America has endured and the ramifications of 9/11. Observing all of the dangers and tragedies in the world forces you to step back and think about what's really important. Sport is a way for many of us to get away from all of that....

67

On a night where two giants were expected to make good quality comebacks in their respective series comebacks just weren't in the hockey gods’ cards. Both the Washington Capitals and the Detroit Red Wings find themselves down in a hole trailing 2-0 after two games played with Washington losing both games in their own building.   If the old saying of “You’re never in trouble in the playoffs until you lose at home” is true then Washington is really up the creek without a paddle. What is happening to the Capitals? Is it the Guy Boucher 1-3-1 adaptation of the trap?...

322

If yesterday's 7-3 routing of the Philadelphia Flyers is any indication, the Boston Bruins have been uncaged from their former, low scoring self. The Bruins team that defeated the Flyers yesterday after was a much different one that slipped out of a relatively low scoring first round series with the Montreal Canadiens. Although the personnel is the same, the Bruins have taken on a different attitude with more 'swagger' as they look to capitalize after narrowly advancing past the opening round. David Krejci and Brad Marchand each scored two goals, while Nathan Horton, Mark Recchi and Gregory Campbell all added a marker....

375

Along with the beginning of the second round of the playoff, the excitement in Leaf land was also brimming for the start of the World Championships in Slovakia. Canada had their first taste of tournament action in a 4-1 victory over the Belarussians, who are captained by Mikhail Grabovski. In the win, all three goal scorers (Eberle with two, Jeff Skinner, John Tavares) are under the age of 20, with the youngest being 18-year old Skinner. Judging from the offensive output displayed by these three youngsters, the Canadians will rely on youthful enthusiasm and speed to overpower their opposition....

68

The second round of the playoffs got off to a relatively quiet start, with only one game on the docket. Although it's far too early to determine whether the second round will be as exciting in the first, it is unlikely than anything can top the level of excitement that was on display night in and night out through the opening round. What we as fans should come to expect from the second round is a hard hitting, tight checking, defensive style. As evidenced from last night's game between Nashville and Vancouver, the battle between Pekka Rinne and Roberto Luongo...

354

What a first round! As a hockey fan, you have to be pleased about what is currently happening around the best sport in the planet. 4 Game sevens, a ton of OT action and the best quality of the play one could possibly imagine. As a Leafs fan you have to be glad about the Habs being knocked out. I’m not below giving the Canadiens their due credit. Following Halak’s departure and intense scrutiny Carey Price proved he was up for the task. The series win eluded him but with a .934 save percentage and a 2.11 GAA he truly...

403

Nothing beats a partial Habs GDT on a Toronto Maple Leafs fansite, right? To get more in line with the general sentiments of everyone here and making sure the glass is half full, or at least not half empty (one quarter empty) let’s just call this a ¼ Boston GDT. Sure, we might dislike Seguin and an certain draft pick, but for a Leafs fan desperate for playoff hockey, there’s always Kaberle to cheer for. The Hot Stove will also be looking at Vancouver’s possible exit from the playoffs in what I like to call “Chaos in Paradise”. CHICAGO @...

112

It was an interesting turn of events in Chicago - to say the least - prior to Game 6 of Vancouver's match up with the Blackhawks. With all eyes directed towards the goaltending situation, the answer to the question as to whether or not Roberto Luongo would start was revealed when backup goalie Cory Schneider was the first Canuck to take to the ice. After taking the majority of shots in the warmup while Luongo casually leaned against the boards, it became clear that Alain Vigneault and staff were taking a big risk in not standing by their million...

676

Nathan Horton's goal at 9:03 of the second overtime period capped off what was arguably the most exciting contest of the playoffs through the opening week-and-a-half. Both teams traded quality scoring chances throughout the game, but the goaltending battle between Tim Thomas and Carey Price highlighted an intense, as-tight-as-it-gets battle. In particular, the Canadiens' darkhorse up front is David Deharnais, a 5-foot-8 speedster who created several excellent scores chances for his team and showed strong outside speed. After winning the first two games of the series, Montreal now heads back home down 3-2 with all the momentum shifted Boston's...

714

It was another exciting night on the ice yesterday, with both games being decided in extra minutes. The Sabres lit up the Flyers' Brian Boucher in the first period with three unanswered goals scored by Tyler Ennis, Thomas Vanek and Marc Andre Gragnani, forcing the Flyers to switch to their third goalie of the series in Michael Leighton. The Flyers mounted an impressive comeback to even the score at three late in the third, but the speedy Ennis wrapped up the game for Buffalo with his second of the contest and third point of the playoffs. It's safe to...

122

You'll notice some changes around these parts; we've upgraded (we like to think) with a new and improved comments section full of fun new features and a slick new interface. You need to do a bit of work to reclaim your account, though. Step by step instructions available here. More explanation with pictures and video here (and some Q&A in the comments). After scoring a combined 12 goals in the first three games of the series, the Bruins and Canadiens exploded with a nine-goal output in Boston's 5-4 win last night. A two-goal performance by Michael Ryder, including the...

192

Going down by three goals heading into the third period of a hockey goal is usually the surefire recipe for failure. Not on this night. Similar to the San Jose/Los Angeles bout on Tuesday, a big lead seemingly blew away in the wind as the Capitals fought back to tie the game 3-3 with the Rangers to force overtime. The Capitals had to be more than a little anxious given their recently rocky playoff history but this comeback and the character it exemplified could be a crowning moment for the Capitals in their quest to get over the post-season hump. The...

304

Just when they thought they had overcome their woes against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Vancouver Canucks received a 7-2 butt kicking and suddenly don't feel so comfortable with a 3-1 lead in the series. History indicates that teams rarely come back to win a series after being down by two games, but weirder things have happened (think Philly vs. Boston last spring). David Bolland reinforced his former status as a playoff warrior, with a goal and three assists on the night, along with timely face-off wins and strong defensive play. If the Hawks are able to continue to expose Roberto...

111

The NHL and NBC/Versus have announced a 10 year broadcast and media rights agreement, valued at approximately $2 billion or roughly $200 million per year, a sharp increase from the $77.5 million arrangement currently in place. On a short-term basis the deal, essentially a 150% per-year increase, is a good one for the NHL, which you may remember did even not have a US television deal in place coming out of the lockout.  Only six years later, an arrangement of this value represents a major coup for both Gary Bettman and the NHL as a whole. However ... ......

6

Some saddening news to pass along this evening, as NHL.com reports that EJ McGuire, Vice President of the NHL's Central Scouting Service, has passed away after losing a battle with cancer at the age of 58. Speaking of McGuire, Bettman notes that "EJ loved hockey, he loved to watch it, he loved to coach it, he loved to analyze it, he loved to talk about it. He was among the pioneers of the use of computers for hockey scouting and analysis, and he did an incredible job of directing the Central Scouting Bureau, and we will...

103

The point system comes into scrutiny earlier and earlier each season. Regulation time stalemates are badges of honor, garnering 'at least a point' and driving fans crazy with the ‘loser point.’ Aside from minor differences, the point system doesn't really matter. It's not about points and systems. It's about motivation. It’s the reason the NHL changed the end-of-season tie-breaking measure from overall wins to regulation wins. The target was motivation to win, not point systems. Players and coaches will take measures to bank available points, even more so in this age of perceived parity. If there are two points for a regulation win,...